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Posts from the ‘Organisational Development’ Category

Business leaders to be inspired and challenged by Alastair Campbell and ASDA’s David Smith: ‘Winning and building a high performance culture’

November 23rd, 2016

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** PRESS RELEASE **

London based business leaders join Academy for Chief Executives at key ‘Unlocking Potential’ event aimed at inspiring and challenging leaders’ mindset

Alastair Campbell, communications director to Tony Blair, will share his thoughts and experiences around creating a winning mindset at a keynote conference of business leaders brought together by the Academy for Chief Executives.

He is joined on the platform by David Smith who, as people director and part of the Asda board, led the failing grocers to become a highly profitable 170,000 employee business, doubling its market share and subsequently being sold to Walmart for £15bn and voted Sunday Times ‘Best Place to Work’

The conference in the City of London on Thursday 24th November; ‘Winning and building a high performance culture’, is part of a major series of ‘Unlocking Potential’ events hosted by the Academy for Chief Executives, one of the UK’s leading coaching and leadership support groups for senior executives.

Alastair Campbell will set out a blueprint for winning which can be used by all business leaders to achieve more and be more successful. His unique access to the world’s elite in business, sport and politics led him to write ‘Winners and how they succeed’. He identifies that the most ‘winning winners’ are sports people and he says:

“..what few people in business and politics ever do is really try to learn from how the best in sport get to be the best and stay the best…… To be brutally frank, as the waves of change lap around us and the lapping feels like it may turn to a lashing and then a hurricane, the challenges at home and abroad at times make it feel as though a perfect storm is brewing, I think we need to [learn].”

David Smith will share some of the key principles in creating high performance cultures that can be implemented into any business to help it grow. He deployed seven key elements to change the culture and performance of Asda and he shares and reinforces the need for any business leader to adopt consistency if they are to grow their business.

Tony Carey, Chief Executive of New Chase Homes Limited specialist house builders with a significant growth target to increase their annual build targets by around 300% over the next four years and who is also a group member of the Academy for Chief Executives says:

“I’m very curious to hear from both Alastair Campbell and David Smith. Both have powerful track records which speak for themselves – I want to meet the men and get a feel for their character. I’m fascinated that Campbell appears to sit in the background and supports others to win. I’m keen to know how that impacts on him and where and how he sees himself as a winner.

“As with all my Academy for Chief Executives’ experiences, I’m expecting this to be a really valuable event for both me and my business and hope to take much learning from it.”

Vince Tickel, Group Chairman of the Academy for Chief Executives in Central London said:

“In business I always learned by watching the way someone better than me performs. By copying them and what they do I find it makes a massive difference to me and my business performance.

“Here we have two highly experienced leaders sharing key insights they have learned over decades boiled down and shared in bite-sized chunks that can be taken away and implemented to help get you as a business leader, and your business, to the next level. That’s what our work at the Academy for Chief Executives is all about, helping successful leaders become more successful.”

The event is to be held at Blake Morgan, New Street Square London EC4A 3DJ. Further information is available from Lizzie Stuart-Bennett elizabeth.s-b@chiefexecutive.com

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NOTES TO EDITORS

For further information, please contact:

Karen Gray :: karen.gray@chiefexecutive.com 07976 841123
 

THE ACADEMY FOR CHIEF EXECUTIVES

The Academy for Chief Executives is one of the UK’s leading coaching and mentoring organisations for senior executives. With more than 30 groups nationwide it aims to improve lives by unlocking the potential of every business leader.

Change is hard – I’ll be ready tomorrow

August 13th, 2016

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by Keith Coats

Having breakfast with a CEO recently and talking about organisational change, he came out with the memorable line, “change is hard – I’ll be ready tomorrow”. It wasn’t a personal reference but rather the unspoken response he seems to encounter from his senior leaders at every turn when it comes to the organisational change he knows is necessary and that cannot be delayed.

Living in times of exponential and ubiquitous changes demands a lot of both leaders and the organisations they lead. Being ‘futurefit’ is not a matter of strategy but rather a matter of culture. Developing a ‘futurefit’ organisational culture is the way to ensure that you stay ahead of the curve. This means knowing how, when and what to change.

But what does this all mean for you as a leader? How do you lead in such times?

Of course there is no simple answer to that searching question but here are three pointers for you as a leader that are worth noting.

1. Experience is overrated. In a world in which the challenges that leaders are encountering are nothing like those previously encountered, the past offers little help in finding solutions. This is what Ron Heifetz of Harvard refers to as an ‘adaptive challenge’. An adaptive challenge can be defined as, ‘knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do’ and as such, any solution requires ‘new learning’. In an adaptive challenge even the problem itself requires ‘new learning’ – or it needs to be defined because the very nature of the problem is not immediately apparent. It is about getting to the ‘real problem’ – and the first step demands thorough diagnosis.

The danger is that too many leaders believe that they can solve adaptive challenges through their own – or the companies, experience. To say experience is overrated is not to imply this nor is it to be dismissive of the past; it is merely saying that tomorrow’s challenges will not be solved by yesterday’s solutions.

2. Questions are the answers. Smart leaders ask a lot of questions and I would go as far to say that the quality of the questions you (as a leader) are asking will determine the quality of the solutions and strategy going forward. Questions serve to open the conversation and thinking. They invite others into the conversation and as we get more used to asking them – and more comfortable, so too will we get better at ‘holding’ them, engaging with them and strengthening the process towards new learning and solutions. Do a ‘questions audit’: At your next meeting, pay attention to the number and quality of questions being asked.

3. Adapt or die. Smart leaders understand that they need to become an ‘adaptive leader’. They know that they need to build organisational cultures that are agile, nimble and responsive and they are preoccupied with how best to do this. Well, the short answer is: It starts with you. You need to be an adaptive leader; you need to model what this looks like and by so doing, give permission to others to follow suite. It is about becoming ‘futurefit’ and as in any attempts to ‘get fit’ – hard work and discipline is required.

Unlike the many ‘magical’ or quick-fix solutions being offered to get in shape physically – becoming futurefit is not something that can be achieved overnight but it is possible and is attainable when given an intentional focus. It will require both a mind shift as well as behavioural practice before it roots and becomes something that is recognisable.

Leading in today’s context is tough and it is not going to get any easier. The kind of organisations that we have built from the past will resemble little likeness to those that will stand in the future. There are too many things changing for us to really believe that what has got us here will be sufficient to get us to where it is we need to be. Technology, societal value shifts, globalisation, new threats and opportunities and a host of other forces and elements will ensure that our current ways of managing our enterprises will have to change.

Recognising this reality and shaping the future is the leader’s responsibility. It is your responsibility and a fair question to be asking is, ‘so what are you doing about it?’


CoatesKeith Coats is an Academy speaker and co-founding partner of TomorrowToday Global. A futurist and leadership expert with global experience as a presenter, facilitator and author, Keith shares his experience with audiences around the world, helping them understand the leadership response to a global context of change, complexity and uncertainty. More at http://keithcoats.com/

The Academy for Chief Executives is a leading executive coaching and mentoring organisation working with business leaders and their teams throughout the UK.

Member companies collectively turnover £3.5 billion per annum and on average employ 75 people each.

academy8808.com & chiefexecutive.com

To find out more about membership of the Academy for Chief Executives contact us on: 07714 246509 or glenn.watkins@chiefexecutive.com

Image from istockphoto.com

Post EU Referendum June 2016 – By Academy Economist Roger Martin-Fagg

June 28th, 2016

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The Prime Minister has just announced his resignation.

A Conservative MP who voted to leave said we must remember that nothing will change.

Everything will change and in ways which we cannot predict we cannot know what we cannot know. The economy is characterised by positive feedback. This means a small change in one part of the system is magnified by the systemic response.

As I write this, global stock markets are crashing, sterling has fallen to $1.30, and Moody’s have said the UK will lose its AAA rating. These are knee jerk reactions but they are destabilising: positive feedback has already been triggered.

The Bank of England has made soothing noises and will supply short run liquidity to prevent the wholesale market from seizing up. Boardrooms round the world will be trying to evaluate both the risks and the opportunities.

Everything will change, and it has already started.

Download the Roger Martin Fagg – Post Brexit Article

rogermartinfagg

Roger Martin-Fagg

rmfagg@aol.com

The Academy for Chief Executives is a leading executive coaching and mentoring organisation working with business leaders and their teams throughout the UK.

Member companies collectively turnover £3.5 billion per annum and on average employ 75 people each.

www.chiefexecutive.com

 

Brexit; Stop, Pause, Plan, Implement. Repeat.

June 28th, 2016

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What is your plan text is written on blue paper with a red marker aside.MEDIA RELEASE

Brexit; Stop, Pause, Plan, Implement. Repeat. 

“You are being watched. As a leader your influence has a magnified effect…

Your personal response to Brexit will serve you into the future… and develop resilience… unexpected events simply lead us to find unexpected solutions.”

Ian Price, CEO, Academy for Chief Executives

Ian Price, CEO of the Academy for Chief Executives emphasises the value and importance of a thoughtful plan and choosing our attitude before, as leaders, we respond to the unexpected and change:

“So it’s out then. I’m sure I wasn’t alone, rubbing my eyes in disbelief on Friday morning, digesting the result of the EU Referendum.

“It was, we thought, unlikely, unexpected and, as a result for many, unforeseen.

“Brexit has thrown a spanner in the works for business owners and managers throughout the UK.

“It will fall to each one of us to make good decisions in the hours, days, weeks and months ahead as we each, in our own way, make our contributions to keeping the economy’s wheel’s turning.

“We are facing, what most of us agree is, unexpected change. We know change is challenging.

“Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI’s director-general summed up the feelings of UK plc on Friday morning: ‘Businesses are used to dealing with challenge and change and we should be confident they will adapt. We need strong and calm leadership from the government, working with the Bank of England, to shore up confidence and stability in the economy.’

“It’s not just our political leaders and senior bankers who need to be strong and calm. We’ve all had times when ‘landscape’ suddenly shifts around us – the shorthand we often use is ‘crisis management’.

“Over the years we have spent a great deal of time in the Academy for Chief Executives considering the characteristics of a crisis – ergo proven, effective ways to tackle and respond to unexpected change.

“I can think of few better moments to share our tried and tested collective views as we each embark on our journey to steer through the choppy waters ahead:

  • First; stop, take a deep breath, have a cuppa and be prepared in the immediate short term to do nothing. Snap reactions are often, not always, to be avoided in crisis situations.
  • Then gather your resources. Get your team and tools together. Establish the current status of the situation. What’s going on? What does it mean? And what courses of action are open to us?
  • Establish initial priorities and actions with input from as many relevant sources as possible.
  • Define your purpose clearly. Make it a cause that everyone can understand and rally around, each knowing their role and responsibility.
  • Maintain focus on this purpose. This may be a re-affirmation of your existing purpose or this ‘what’ may have been adapted or changed.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate! Remember – it’s the ‘why’ you need to keep foremost in your and your business’ mind. Businesses with a strong and clearly defined purpose survive and thrive.
  • Keep consulting, keep reviewing and keep communicating on where you are, your progress and where you need to get to. Involve everyone: your team, your suppliers your customers and your allies and keep on communicating. Listen to what they have to say to you too.
  • Make it real – track everything against your timeline, what needs to happen, who is responsible and by when.
  • Finally, be an ‘embracer’ of the change. You are being watched. As a leader your influence has a magnified effect. Your attitude will be critical. Choose your attitude carefully.

“My final thought is this. Your personal response to Brexit will serve you into the future. Being prepared to challenge and be challenged is what keeps us fresh and successful. Businesses that embrace change positively develop resilience; they are fleet of foot and equipped to respond calmly and successfully to the unexpected.

“Remember unexpected events simply lead us to find unexpected solutions.”

  • ends –

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For further information please contact

Glenn Watkins      glenn.watkins@chiefexecutive.com 07714 246509

Karen Gray            karen.gray@chiefexecutive.com 07976 841123

Nicola Hunt           nicola@nhpr.com 07976 934342

NOTES TO EDITORS

The Academy for Chief Executives is a leading executive coaching and mentoring organisation working with business leaders and their teams throughout the UK.

Member companies collectively turnover £3.5 billion per annum and on average employ 75 people each.

www.chiefexecutive.com

Start with Why?

May 27th, 2016

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Simon Sinek’s 2009 TED talk, Start with Why, has rightly taken on almost mythical status for its simple message about putting purpose – the ‘why’ – at the heart of strategy. Think about the organisations you most admire. How far do they put purpose at the heart of their operations?

 

 

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Defining your Strategic Vision

May 27th, 2016

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By James M. Kerr

We all want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. That’s why we form communities, follow sport teams or volunteer our time for the greater good. It is one of the reasons that we get up in the morning.

Another reason to get up in the morning is to go to work. Besides wanting to earn a living to provide for ourselves and families, our work gives us a similar sense of purpose and belonging. And as business leaders, we ought to be aware that creating exciting organisations that are substantially different from our competition will also help us attract and retain the best and brightest.

But it’s impossible to have a sense of purpose or belonging without being able to answer some simple questions about what it is we are doing and why. So, how does one marry these two aspirations? Why not begin by painting a vision?

I’m not suggesting coming up with the sort of tired clichés that appear on some company web sites or printed on posters no-one reads – you know the sort of thing: “We are passionate about understanding and responding to customer needs. We provide authoritative information and technology-based solutions across key stages of our customers’ workflow….”

These sorts of platitudes could apply to any company within their industry. This is why I advise my clients to craft a “Vision Story” – something with depth, something so compelling and vivid that the people are genuinely enthused about being part of it. Here is where to begin.

Constructing a Vision Story
Above all else, a vision story must be engaging. People must be able to identify with what is being proffered within the story. They need to be able to see themselves working at that company. Futuristic in its tone and loose and sinuous in its organisation, a vision story is written as if the company has already completed the work needed to achieve its vision. Typically, 15 – 20 pages in length, the story must be a vast and detailed discussion of what a company is to become in order to achieve its long-term goals.

How do you begin? It starts by imagining the possibilities. As I work with my clients on visioning, I start with a very basic question: “What can this company become?”

Inevitably, the initial answers outline financial goals, like, “we will turn over £20m by 2017,” or “we will operate at a 40% margin by 2018”, and so on.

It’s a great start! Let a strong statement of the financial goal frame the vision story. People want to know the size of company that they will be part of down-the-road. It will serve to inform their commitment because it’s important to people to identify with the size and goals of the firms for which they work.

But, the financial goal is just the beginning of the story. The rest of the tale must include details about the company, including such characteristics as:

Management Style Leadership Models
Customer Demographics Product/Service Sets
Growth Strategies Product Distribution
Service Delivery New Business Partnerships
Brand Value Organisational Structure
Operating Model Process Transformation
Flexible Workforce Performance Metrics
Diversity & Inclusion Governance Frameworks

This is not to say that the vision story specifies what each of these characteristics is for the company. Each of the subjects on the list must be further refined and developed over the course of time that transpires between where an organisation is today and where it wants to be in the future.

The vision story simply articulates the characteristics of the firm when it has achieved its vision. To state it another way, the vision story contains a discussion about how each of the elements outlined above have been instituted and now encompass the very fabric of the enterprise.

For example, the following passage from an actual vision story was used to describe the “Flexible Workforce” topic:

“By fostering an open and honest relationship with staff, a responsive, flexible workforce is in place. Effective cross-training and education programs have been put in place, as well. This allows the company to respond rapidly to workflow peaks and valleys….Training efforts have broadened their focus from job-specific development to one where overall process knowledge, interpersonal skills, leadership development, methodology practices, management skills, and succession planning are provided.”

Notice there is little here about how the workforce flexibility was achieved, anything about specific training plans or how demand and capacity are managed. Instead, the passage purely states that the company now has these attributes.

As mentioned above, it takes about 15 – 20 pages to properly construct a vision story that gives adequate coverage to all the areas you need to address. And it also takes time for people to digest the document – it’s not something that can be rushed. Instead, encourage everyone to get in the right frame of mind, remove unnecessary distractions and take their time to consume the message carefully.

Getting the Story Out
The work has just begun once the vision story is published. Once it has been defined, time must be dedicated to raising awareness of its content among everyone affected by it. Moreover, the best organisations stick to their vision and don’t let their stories collect dust. Rather, they continuously review it and listen to feedback so that it accurately reflects where the organisation is within its business environment.

Together with a solid Strategic Planning Program, the resulting vision story becomes an important management tool that guides action and informs decision-making within these enterprises – it creates a platform on which an enterprise thrives.

Successful enterprises of the future will be characterised by agile organisational structures, enhanced product and service delivery models and unmatched market reach. A vision story acts as a strategic platform from achieve these goals. That’s why businesses that take care to clearly articulate where they will be in the future and how they will get there will be more successful than ones that don’t.

James Kerr ThumbnailJames M. Kerr is the Global Chair of the Culture Transformation Practice at N2Growth and the author of The Executive Checklist. A specialist in organizational design and cultural transformation, he has been helping clients re-imagine the way work is organized and performed for more than 25 years. His next book is due out later in 2016 and focuses on leadership and strategy-setting.

 

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Round in Circles

March 29th, 2016

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Ever since the industrial revolution, our economic model has relied on using large quantities of cheap, easily accessible materials and energy in a linear, ‘take, make, dispose’ process. But this is a model that is reaching its physical limits.

But what if the things we throw away today can become the resources of tomorrow?  That’s the premise behind the idea of the circular economy – one that is one that is waste-free and resilient by design. This video from The Ellen Macarthur Foundation explains more.

For businesses, the circular economy represents a huge opportunity to re-think and re-design the way we make stuff as well as the way our economy works – designing products that can be ‘made to be made again’ and powering the system with renewable energy. And with creativity and innovation, this restorative economy need not be a pipe-dream.

100 Jobs of the Future

March 29th, 2016

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A new report from BrightHR, a ‘A Future that Works’ , investigates how workplaces will evolve in the future and key trends that are likely to emerge to affect all of us. Its key findings include the claim that a fifth of workforce tasks are expected to have an element of robotics in them by 2020 and that a third of UK jobs are under threat from automation.

But while job substitution by machines is always alarming for those caught up in it, we have always been able to adapt and find new roles for ourselves.  So looking forward, what sort of jobs can we expect to see in two decades’ time? A Future that Works suggests 100 new roles – some inevitable, others perhaps more fanciful. But all of them should give us food for thought about the opportunities these might represent.

Information &  communications

Personal Entertainment Programmers

Complexity Analyst, Gaiantologist

Psycho-Customizer

Human to Machine Interface Controller

Narrowcasters

Data Miner

Waste Data Handler

Social Network Analysts

In-House Simplicity Experts

Global Work Process Coordinators

Privacy Protection Consultants

Complex Security Integrators

Chief Networking Officer

Virtual Clutter Organizer

Machine Linguist

Off-the-Grid/off-the-Net Facilitator

Mind Reading Specialist

Quantum Computing Specialist

Media Ethicist

Designer of Advanced Interfaces for Ambient Intelligence systems

Knowledge Guide

Knowledge Broker

Professional VR Citizen

Virtual Lawyer

Virtual Property / Home Owners’ Association (HOA) Managers

Intelligent Agent Designers

Avatar Manager / Devotees

Network Relationship Counsellors / Therapist / Designer

Virtual Police

Virtual Personal Shopper

Cybrarians

Holographer

Virtual-Reality

 

Robotics

Robot Designers / Trainers

Robot Mechanic

Robot Counsellors

Dirigible Pilot

Alternative Vehicle Developers

Teleportation Specialists

Solar Flight Specialists

Infrastructure Specialists

Monorail Designer

 

Space

Spaceline Pilots

Spaceport Designers

Space Tour Guides

Space Architect

Terraformer of the Moon and Other Planets

Astrogeologists, Astrophysiologists and Astrobiologists

 

Demographics

Population Status Manager

Personal Learning Programmer

Societal Systems Designer

Social ‘Networking’ Worker

Intelligent Clothing

Designer / Engineer

Ghost Experience Assistant

Personal Branders

Socialization/Culturalisation Therapists

Enhanced Games Specialist

 

Energy

Biorefinery Operative

Wind Farmer

Battery Technician

Insect-Based Food Developers, Chefs, Nutritionists

Chlorophyll Technician

Fusion Engineers

 

Environmental

Resource Use Consultant

Vertical Farmers

Climate Change Reversal Specialist

Drowned City Specialist

Quarantine Enforcer

Experimental Petrologist

In-Company Sustainability Coordinator

Weather Modification Police

Consumer Energy Analysts

Water Traders

Desert Land Rights Trader

Climate Change Compliance Auditor

Business Consultant for Climate Change Compliance

Recycling Analyst

 

Medicine, biology and biogenetics

Genomics Developer / Architect / Baby Designer

Body Part Maker

Personal Enhancement Advisors

Nano-Medic

Synthetic Life Designer / Scientist / Engineer

Chief In-Company Health

Enhancement Officer

Telemedicine Technician

Farmer of Genetically Engineered Crops and Livestock

In-Company Gene Screener

Biometric Identification Specialist

Bioinformationists

Geomicrobiologists

Experimental Therapy Experts

Old Age Wellness Manager / Consultant Specialists

Personal Body Weight / Obesity Consultant

Memory Augmentation Surgeon

‘New Science’ Ethicist

Genetic Hacker

Longevity Providers

Cryonics Technicians

End-of-Life Planner

 

Download the report:

https://pages.brighthr.com/afuturethatworks-v2.html

About the authors

Lynda Gratton

“The Hot Spots Movement is a specialist research and consulting team founded by Professor Lynda Gratton of the London Business School, a leading expert in organisational behaviour and a world-renowned speaker on the future of work. The team works to identify where companies can future-proof their working practice, in order to foster innovation and enhance performance.”

David Smith

“A futurologist, and Chief Executive of GFF – a strategic futures research organisation, David Smith’s 30 year diverse business career has made him recognisable as one of the world’s leading futurists and strategic thinkers.David prepares views of the future on many topics including the Travel and Tourism industry, the world Insurance markets and visions of the future for government, the food, real estate, information technology and communications industries.”

Top Tips: Surviving the Future

March 29th, 2016

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by Patrick Dixon

Here is a five step guide to future-proof any business, based on my new book The Future of Almost Everything.

 1) Bring in outsiders to challenge your world view

The greatest risk to any business is institutional blindness.  The greatest risk to any leader is being seduced by one’s own world-view.  The greatest risk to any marketing department is believing your own slogans.

When too many bankers spend too much time with bankers, the result is a sub-prime crisis. Too many generals playing too many war games with too many other generals in the same nation, and the result can be disaster.

So seek out advice from experts, consultants, innovators – people who think very differently to you and others in your company.  Take them out to dinner. Include them in key strategy discussions.  Hire them into your teams.

 2) Listen to your customers – but don’t believe them

Always take what your customers tell you seriously. Fix their problems. Make life easier. Thank them for their feedback. But don’t believe them when it comes to predicting the future.

Get to know your customers well, with deep insights into how they think and feel, and then try to imagine how they may behave in a very different kind of future world.  Take online banking for example:  in many nations most customers told banks a few years ago that they were not interested in online banking or making payments using a smartphone – and if banks had listened to them, they would have missed one of the greatest transformations in retail banking for decades.

One of the best ways to find those insights is to pretend to be a customer in your own business as a “mystery shopper”. Every senior manager should do that at least once a month.  Mystery shopping is often shocking to business leaders – not so much how they are treated as customers, but what it feels like to be that customer.

3) Read widely – and be curious about all you meet

I wrote The Future of Almost Everything as a one-stop guide to the future of every industry, region and market. Many of the insights came from reading everything I can get my hands on – unfamiliar magazines in airports, blogs by influential people, newspapers like the Financial Times, and other key publications like the Economist.

The key is to challenge your own views on the future, rather than just absorb the forecasts made by others.

When did you last have a conversation with someone that really changed how you think?

One of the fastest ways to stay ahead of change is to be constantly curious about the lives of those you meet. For example, when you arrive in a new city, talk to your taxi driver who will likely be a very reliable guide to what is really going on, if the local economy is picking up, who is spending what and where.

Every person has unique insights and personal experience. Their own way of viewing the world.  High school students, mothers with children at home, people who are retired, shop assistants, bus drivers, car mechanics, journalists, pharmacists and so on.  And in each town or city, in every nation, the answers such people will give will be different.

4) Review your strategies every year

The world is changing faster than you can hold a board meeting, which means that you need to have more than one strategy. Bring your team together regularly to think again. Develop contingencies to stay ahead of constant change. What are you going to do if….

The smartest corporations and teams all have multiple strategies. They already know more or less exactly what they will do if a particular event takes place.

Focus on major long-term trends, which change relatively slowly and you already understand most of your future. Things like demographics, growing life expectancy, the relentless fall in price of most technologies, rapid pace of globalization, rise of emerging markets and so on.  These things form the foundation stones of every corporate strategy or government policy.

The rest will be driven by Wild Cards – low probability, high impact events – but there are a huge number of them, and in a hyper-connected world, their combined impact can be awesome. Remember that in every risk or challenge there is a new business opportunity.

5) Be agile!

And finally, prepare for rapid change, by developing more agile teams. That means simplifying decision-making, giving more power to local teams to innovate, diversify and respond to events rapidly. Recruit and promote leaders who cope well with ambiguity and uncertainty, who enjoy taking initiative, have courage and are great collaborators.

It is shocking how many organisations still have a very top-down culture, where managers basically do as they are told, and where many leaders are reduced to mere implementers of someone else’s business plan.  Part of agility is encouraging innovation:  creative thinking, new solutions to old problems, radical steps to serve customers better.

Agility is so much easier when you have completed steps 1-4 above. When you have a dynamic view of your future and have mapped out different possible directions depending on what happens around you.

Patrick Dixon

Patrick Dixon is a futurist, keynote speaker author and adviser to boards and senior teams on strategic impact of global trends, innovation and risk.  His latest book, The Future of Almost Everything, describes hundreds of key trends which will impact your business and personal life, and explains what it all means for our wider world. http://www.globalchange.com

 

Look to the Future but Don’t Forget the Past

March 29th, 2016

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by Ian Price

It can be all too easy to forget what we’ve learned from the past as we try to future-proof our businesses and plan for what comes next.  In my new role as Chief Executive, I am aware that the Academy has an important heritage based on our twenty years of history.  So it seems appropriate that the Academy will celebrate its 21st birthday – and its coming of age – in 2016, which is set to be an important year as we decide our future in Europe.

There was much talk at the World Economic Forum at Davos last month about the potential impact of artificial intelligence. Will robots eventually take over from humans or will they herald a world where people can instead focus on adding value and being creative? It’s a moot point, but it’s worth remembering that even in today’s digital world where virtual communication has become the norm, that direct human contact remains far more powerful than a pixelated experience.

That’s why the opportunity Academy members have to meet in person each month and share their issues in a trusted environment is more important than ever. It’s so much easier to deal with the challenges we face as business leaders when there is a supportive community on hand to help navigate the change.

As I reflect on the legacy of the Academy and look to the opportunities ahead, it is clear to me that we must continue to build upon the solid foundation already in place and our philosophy of `leaders learning from leaders’. At the same time, we need to challenge the status quo, identify new opportunities and approaches, embrace innovation and expand our horizons. This means combining the best of both worlds as we look ahead, but without forgetting the past.

Ian Price

Ian Price became Chief Executive of the Academy in February 2016. He has a reputation and track-record for growing profitable businesses rapidly. His affable demeanour and relaxed style of working hides an exceptional talent at being able to focus on what makes a business tick.

Contact Glenn Watkins to learn more and experience the Academy for Chief Executives.