Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, I have been busier than ever, talking with C-suite executives from Fortune 500 companies to small start-ups and mom-and-pop shops, all with the same question: What do we do now?
A global pandemic and an economic downturn have left many without work, while several businesses are closing their doors after decades, all seemingly overnight. Those who have remained open all wonder what’s next and, more importantly, what they can be certain of.
Many of the answers I have given people have really helped, so I decided to dive deep into some of those answers to find out exactly what was helping each individual and organization.
What I discovered was that, during this time of great uncertainty, you have way more control than you realize if you focus on certainties.
An Anticipatory Leader knows that the very term “certainty” is a core element of my Hard Trend Methodology, in which we use Hard Trends, or future certainties we know will happen, to pre-solve problems we will face before they occur.
One major certainty is that this pandemic will end. In the meantime, an equally important certainty for all organizations to recognize is that we are all going through this together, struggling in one way or another.
So, what is one major way for you and your organization to take control of that certainty?
In the past, I have discussed the importance of shifting your focus from success to significance, in order to leverage new, profound opportunities in your industry and beyond. This method holds true now more than ever.
Prior to COVID-19, many companies focused on having a successful company with a strong bottom line; however, it is often overlooked that success isn’t merely about us, how much money we make, or the accolades on our wall.
What COVID-19 did was level the playing field in many ways. Suddenly, neither a Fortune 500 company nor a small start-up could function successfully in the same way. Many, including bars and restaurants, lost money by having to shut their doors, and others were affected by their customers having to close due to being deemed nonessential in the early days of the lockdown. The status quo was disrupted in remarkable ways.
How does one feel successful when many professional comforts have been stripped from us? By making a shift to significance from a focus on success —and here is why.
Significance is not about you; significance is about all the people that you help and all the people you serve. If you can elevate your significance as an individual, leader, or organization, success will follow as a by-product.
While this virus we face is indisputably detrimental, what I want to do is ignite the fire in you to recognize the opportunity to be significant and help the world using the skills you or your organization have exponentially grown or developed during these perilous times.
Opportunity has transformed and is no longer solely for monetary gain, but, instead, for the greater good of humanity. The education industry is a great example of this.
As we head into our new normal, the debate of virtual versus in-person education rages on. Many districts across the country are sticking to hybrid or fully virtual learning, and, while older students have taken to this much better than younger students, the younger students are still part of those districts staying remote. What happens to those younger students when school starts and their parents are back at work during the day?
A group of medical students considered this issue and banded together to launch a website to advertise their ability to supervise those children while they do their virtual schoolwork. As you can see, those medical students are moving beyond success to significance and finding success in doing so!
Ask yourself: If your company, organization, or career ended tomorrow, would you be remembered for how much success you had, or your significant impact when the world needed it the most?
There is far more longevity in pursuing significance over success during both traditional times and in our new normal, and, even better, you can improve the world as we know it.
Think of these times as a fresh start. In many ways, the world hit the reset button, though Hard Trends are still prevalent and an anticipatory mindset helps tremendously in paying attention to these future certainties that will impact the world in new ways.
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.