Thursday, November 5, 2009

Skills to Make the Future, Part 1

It's a whole new world out there - and it's changing more rapidly than ever. The dilemma we confront, the workforces we lead, the technologies we use, and our organizational lives will continue to change sharply in the decade ahead.

Bob Johansen, Distinguished Fellow with the Institute for the Future, has written a fascinating book on the development of a new set of new skills that are uniquely suited to the "threshold" decade ahead. It's called "Leaders Make the Future". Here is a summary of the first five skills; the remainder will come tomorrow.

  • Maker Instinct - the ability to turn one's natural impulse to build into a skill for making the future and connecting with others in the making. The maker instinct is basic to leadership in the future.
  • Clarity - the ability to see through messes and contradictions to a future that others cannot yet see. Leaders are very clear about what they are making, but very flexible about how they get it made.
  • Dilemma Flipping - the ability to turn dilemmas - which, unlike problems, cannot be solved - into advantages and opportunities.
  • Immersive Learning Ability - the ability to dive into different-for-you physical and online worlds, to learn from them in a first person way.
  • Bio-empathy - the ability to see things from nature's point of view; to understand, respect, and learn from nature's patterns. Nature has its own clarity, if only we humans can understand and engage with it.

Johansen places the development of theses skills in what he labels the VUCA world: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. It's a world that has both danger and opportunity, and one that requires learning new skills in order to make a better future.

Can you find room in your busy schedule to learn these new skills?

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