In the July 2014 edition of Leadership, South Africa’s premier leadership magazine (it also happened to be their 350 publication – congratulations!) there appeared an article by Dr Rene Uys, titled ‘Connecting the Dots: the Connection Economy demands a paradigm shift in leadership’. In the article Uys acknowledges that TomorrowToday coined the term ‘Connection Economy’ in 2004.

Furthermore, there is strong evidence that her thinking and words have been significantly imprinted by what we in TomorrowToday, through our keynotes and articles, have been saying on the subject over many years. Clear examples would be the two foundational questions we pose in our keynote that addresses the move into the Connection Economy, both of which Uys has inserted into her article: Why should people want to buy from you? Why should people want to work for you? Another example is that of the gender leadership thread running through the respective economies which Uys refers to in her article.

TomorrowToday originally got onto this track through the work of Rolf Jensen in his book, ‘The Dream Society’. Inspired by his strong argument for the transitions through various economic eras we then added further dimensions to his well articulated framework that resulted in our popular keynote presentation: Balancing Today and Tomorrow: Competitive advantage in the emerging Connection Economy which dates back to 2003. It was a presentation that we were invited to present both locally and internationally and one that posed powerful questions to both leaders and organisations alike. Balancing Today and Tomorrow proved to be the forerunner to our more recent keynote presentations, TIDES of Change (which uncovers five key disruptions that help explain the ‘why’ and ‘how’ underpinning global change) and our latest offering, The Enemy Within (which navigates what needs to change within organisations in order for you to be internally driven, externally aware in the context of ubiquitous and exponential change).

Essentially we suggest that if the world is changing, leadership needs to change; the world is changing! Our extensive international work (work that spans from Iran to China; Kenya to the USA and India to Switzerland) in leadership development programmes across a wide swath of industries, has only served to underscore this essential need to rethink leadership. It is a challenge that keeps us up at night – partly through being on an aircraft heading off to one of those destinations! And partly because of the sizable challenge this poses as well as and the alarming consequences resulting from ignorance, neglect or failure in addressing this leadership challenge).

Peter Drucker has suggested that it is not the turbulence that poses the danger but rather acting with ‘yesterday’s logic’ in engaging the turbulence that is the real danger. In TomorrowToday, we suggest that turbulence is the new contextual ‘norm’ facing leaders and businesses and that periods of uninterrupted and sustained economic growth, will prove to be the exception, not the rule. A recent Harvard Business Review cover simply titled, ‘Talent’ carried the alarming subtitle: ‘Experience is overrated’. Yet, the reality is that the only weapon many leaders have at their disposal in engaging this new reality – in navigating the future is that of experience (yesterday’s logic).

Smart leaders know they need to be thinking like a futurist; that ‘learning from the future, rather than the past forms the new curriculum. They know that cultivating adaptive mind-sets, behaviours and skillsets will be the requirement for thriving into the future. As a smart leader you will know that this starts with you but that ultimately, it needs to translate into your entire team and organisation’s DNA.

This is the very work we do in TomorrowToday! To this end we have produced a dynamic 30-part video series titled FutureFit – how to become a better adaptive leader aimed at helping leaders develop both the mind-sets and skillsets necessary to thrive in the emerging Connection Economy.

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