It is consistently shocking to me how little we consider the future to be an important topic in business.
How the future affects us and our organization is easy to forget when there are numerous tasks at hand, but since it’s where we will spend the rest of our lives, we should all be devoting more time to our consideration of where we are headed into the future.
Given the current global crisis involving COVID-19, several businesses are either transitioning to remote work, learning how they can still service in-person customers during quarantine, or unfortunately in some cases, completely shutting down. The coronavirus and how we are responding to a nationwide lockdown is the current “task at hand” as mentioned above; however, we must not forget the Hard Trends that there will be a tomorrow, and this pandemic will end.
Taking the time to think about the future isn’t limited to post-pandemic life; it’s more like that of a two-way street by what the future exactly means to you and your organization in times like these. For some, it’s when our quarantine is over, while for others, it’s purely getting to tomorrow and innovating. Whatever the time frame you attach to that term truly shapes what you do in the present.
This concept is what I’ve coined a Futureview®, and it’s essential that an organization have a consistent and aligned Futureview to best anticipate what’s to come with the utmost confidence.
My definition of Futureview, which I began to develop several decades ago, refers to the perception of the future. Essentially, when you think of the future, what comes to mind? Traditionally, I have noted that it is restricted to age; however, in the wake of COVID-19, which has leveled the playing field of our world economically and socially, it has also leveled the playing field of our Futureview. Young and old, nobody is certain of what even tomorrow will bring.
But one thing we certainly share in our current situation is the question of whether you are optimistic and excited about the potential for what’s to come after all this, or are you discouraged and depressed, convinced that you or your organization is doomed?
I have mentioned several times that how you view the future has a clear impact on your present thoughts and actions. Futureview is very circular in that it not only defines how you see the days to come, it influences everything you see and do right now. If your post-pandemic Futureview is bleak, your actions will reflect that sentiment, but if it is anticipatory and positive, tomorrow looks bright, even in these dark times.
As a leader, you are definitely not the only one going through changes during this pandemic; you likely have employees or coworkers who are in the same boat.
Futureview is important when it comes to the individual, but when considered on an organization-wide basis, it is critical. Consider how diverse the population of a corporation is, where certain employees have an optimistic Futureview of where the organization is headed and look forward to coming to work, while others have a more negative Futureview and see a dead end, making their performance lackluster and drained and often preoccupied by applying for new jobs.
Now add in a global pandemic like the one we are facing with the new coronavirus, and even the most positive employee likely feels even a little uncertain about what’s to come. As you can imagine, company-wide sentiments about whether the organization will see tomorrow, or gossip circles about who is “essential” and who is “nonessential” and thus will be the first terminated if times get really bad, don’t foster the best environment for an aligned and positive Futureview.
This is why it is imperative for you to become an Anticipatory Leader, identifying both the Soft and Hard Trends, pre-solving any problems before they occur, moving your organization successfully into the future with an aligned and positive Futureview. This will help boost innovation and hope for the post-pandemic future.
Since an aligned Futureview is powerful, how can an organization develop it in times like these?
One of the most prominent ways that I teach this is through identifying Hard Trends, which are certainties that shape your future. Consider the Hard Trend that this virus will end. Is your organization’s Futureview aligned and positive in order to leverage the enormous opportunity to positively disrupt the situation we are currently facing worldwide?
Wondering what steps you need to take to align your company’s Futureview during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond? Sign up today for my Anticipatory Leader System, and learn how to leverage Hard and Soft Trends to create a positive Futureview today!
Daniel Burrus is considered one of the world’s leading futurists on global trends and innovation. The New York Times has referred to him as one of the top three business gurus in the highest demand as a speaker. He is a strategic advisor to executives from Fortune 500 companies, helping them to accelerate innovation and results by develop game-changing strategies based on his proven methodologies for capitalizing on technology innovations and their future impact. His client list includes companies such as Microsoft, GE, American Express, Google, Deloitte, Procter & Gamble, Honda, and IBM. He is the author of seven books, including The New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller Flash Foresight, and his latest book The Anticipatory Organization. He is a featured writer with millions of monthly readers on the topics of innovation, change and the future and has appeared in Harvard Business Review, Wired, CNBC, and Huffington Post to name a few. He has been the featured subject of several PBS television specials and has appeared on programs such as CNN, Fox Business, and Bloomberg, and is quoted in a variety of publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Fortune, and Forbes. He has founded six businesses, four of which were national leaders in the United States in the first year. He is the CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients profit from technological, social and business forces that are converging to create enormous, untapped opportunities. In 1983 he became the first and only futurist to accurately identify the twenty technologies that would become the driving force of business and economic change for decades to come. He also linked exponential computing advances to economic value creation. His specialties are technology-driven trends, strategic innovation, strategic advising and planning, business keynote presentations.