Successfully Navigate The Future

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“The most exciting breakthroughs of the twenty-first century will not occur because of technology, but because of an expanding concept of what it means to be human.”

John Naisbitt

Are you ready, willing, and able to successfully navigate the future? Whether you welcome or resist it, change is happening at the speed of imagination, often causing high levels of confusion and strain on individuals and organizations. What once took decades, now takes months or even days to create and implement. Just look at Uber and Lyft, overnight, scalable sensations that surfaced so rapidly and globally that we are all reeling from impacts, including things like tripled traffic in Manhattan, rapid declines in the taxi business and implications for the trucking industry to name just a few. Our lives are radically changing through digital transformation, globalization and moving into IOT (internet of things) at work and home.

Waning are the days of the phone book and the mall, but more importantly, we are losing former levels of personal and organizational identity; when we were fat and happy in orange organizations, believing we could investigate and understand the inner workings of all things and have control over them. In that phase, we brought about unparalleled prosperity and life expectancy through competition, command and control management, and centralized authority. Most large organizations still operate from these dynamics today even though they are clearly no longer viable. We know this because of ever-widening generational gaps, high disengagement levels and overall inability to cope as people become traumatized by change and its rapid trajectory using the outdated ways. Why? Because like cassette tapes and typewriters, these no longer serve us; we have outgrown them.

The problem is many leaders hold onto autocratic and extrinsically motivating approaches and competition with a death grip, at the very time when our evolution calls for collaboration, mentoring, and development of intrinsic motivation. These are needed to effectively respond to today’s speed and scope of change. And this is where a serious dilemma arises. Because many leaders remain rigid in their fear to evolve to the next stage of organizational consciousness; they resist becoming teal, in which all people become purpose and values driven, self-governing, and able to create highly effective, community-oriented, trans-functional teams. And until we overcome that inflexibility, we continue to have disengaged, insecure, and paralyzed, poorly functioning people. In fact, I offer that any digital transformation, and performance or productivity crisis, is a culture and leadership crisis.

Emotional and social intelligence must be cultivated in order to favorably impact current and future trends, when the only certainty you can count on is uncertainty. When automation, AI and robotics replace traditional jobs, and when intergenerational gaps must be overcome quickly in order to strengthen trust and group support of initiatives. The glue that holds us together is no longer outer circumstances. It is our ability to move from an orange organization to a teal one, where each person takes responsibility for their own purpose, values and visions, and becomes adept at managing relationships, productivity and engagement. This is the only type of organization and human system framework that remains stable despite rapid change, and course corrections that occur regularly, where people are required to move together to help organizations fulfill their purpose.

You are needed at this time. With your willingness to evolve, you help others to do so too, and together we can not only navigate through, but also thoroughly enjoy, the next exciting phase of our adventure, growth and discovery!

This article was published in the column The Extraordinary Workplace in the St. Louis Small Business Monthly, March 2018

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