Friday, November 6, 2009

Skills to Make the Future, Part 2

It's a VUCA world out there, according to Bob Johansen, Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for the Future. We live in a time of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity - and it will only continue to increase in the future.

In his recent book "Leaders Make the Future", Johansen lists 10 new skills that leaders need to develop in order to help make the future. I listed the first five yesterday; here are the final five.

  • Constructive Depolarizing - the ability to calm tense situations where differences dominate and communication has broken down - and bring people from divergent cultures toward constructive engagement.
  • Quiet Transparency - the ability to be open and authentic about what matters to you - without advertising yourself.
  • Rapid Prototyping - the ability to create quick early versions of new innovations, with the expectations that later success will require early failure.
  • Smart Mob Organizing - the ability to bring together, engage with, and nurture purposeful business or social-change networks through intelligent use of electronic and other media.
  • Commons Creating - the ability to stimulate, grow, and nurture shared assets that can benefit other players - and allow competition at a higher level.

Nobody can predict the future, but the four-decade long track record of forecasts of Johansen and his colleagues at the Institute for the Future are plausible and consistent views of what might happen. I found the book (and additional research of the Institute) to be a fascinating journey into a new land of leadership skills - one that all leaders need to be making.

Johansen wrote the following in his introduction: The space between judging too soon (the classic mistake of problem solvers) and deciding too late (the classic mistake of academics) is a space leaders of the future must love - without staying there too long. Leaders need to reflect on the future, but they must also make decisions in the present.

Where do you find yourself in that continuum? Do you want to be somewhere else?

Then create your own future!

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