We are facing too many disruptive forces right now. As we think ahead to the next few months and into 2023 it feels like it is really difficult to set plans, goals and budgets. We don’t want to just go through the motions and end up with something that’s not worth the paper it is written on by March next year. How should we approach planning right now?

There obviously isn’t a quick fix to the turbulent times we live in, but there are at least three things you can do which will help:

1. Recognise that a lot of the disruptors we are facing at the moment are already visible. Too many people are expending unnecessary energy trying to identify “black swan” events (something unpredictable with severe consequences). I don’t want to overstretch the animal analogy, but I think that we should spend most of our time looking at the grey elephants that are already in the room. These are highly probable, high impact yet ignored catalysts and forces of change.

Our team at TomorrowToday has identified seven of these, and built scenarios for them. We’ve called these: Ageing, Angry Planet, Multipolarity, Big Squeezes, Inequality, Intelligent Advancements, and Angry People. Even just looking at the titles, I am sure you get some idea of the major disruptors we think you should be focused on.

2. The focus, though, needs to be on opportunities, rather than threats. We really like the Greek concept of “kairos” – a rare opportune moment where those who are tuned towards change can seize opportunity – to help our clients see the potential that is there to be grasped in times of deep, structural change. This is a much-needed corrective after two years of defensive and responsive approaches to change and disruption. Kairos moments happen when a confluence of disruptive forces cause shifts in the ‘rules for success and failure’ in the world around us. At that moment we are in a perfect storm, and you can’t just batten down the hatches and hope to survive it. Seeing the opportunities becomes the way you navigate a new course into the future.

3. Knowing that we cannot be entirely certain how these scenarios will play out, we need to shift from a planning mindset to one of preparation: building foundations that will ensure your business can handle whatever comes your way.

Our research has identified four key foundations that anti-fragile and resilient organisations all seem to share:ecosystem approach (emphasis on becoming the preferred place to work and the partner-of-choice in your network and industry), being bionic (integrating technology and a future-focused workforce, getting the best out of both), an explorer mindset (recognising that we cannot think our way into a better future, but need to build experimental mindsets and innovation by design into our DNA), and being a force for good (an absolutely essential shift in mindset and positioning for success by 2030).

These reasonably well-worn themes come to new life when seen through the lens of kairos opportunities in the context of the “grey elephant” scenarios.

Thriving in a Perfect Storm

Our latest keynote, Thriving in a Perfect Storm, will help you to do just that. It’s the product of a few years of research, obviously accelerated, spotlighted and focused by Covid. It is available now as a presentation or workshop, to help your team prepare for tomorrow’s world, opening yourself up to the immense opportunities the rest of this decade will bring.

Here’s a 2:30 video from Graeme giving an introduction to “Thriving in a Perfect Storm”.

You can also sign up to attend the official launch webinar – there are two options for this:

Tuesday, 28th June 2022 @ 1pm South Africa, 12pm UK and 7am NY
Thursdsay, 7th July 2022 @ 1pm South Africa, 12pm UK and 7am NY

Author of today’s tip, Graeme Codrington, is an internationally recognized futurist, specializing in the future of work. He helps organizations understand the forces that will shape our lives in the next ten years, and how we can respond in order to confidently stay ahead of change.

For the past two decades,  Graeme has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands, travelling to over 80 countries in total, and speaking to around 100,000 people every year. He is the author of 5 best-selling books, and on faculty at 5 top global business schools.

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