Be a “Future Proof” Leader

Once again, another month clicks by and our minds turn to the challenges that Autumn (or Spring if you are a long way north of me) will bring. With lingering COVID, economic uncertainty and war in Europe, many of us face the future with some trepidation and wonder how we can get a handle on all the changes it will invariably bring.

For those of us who lead others, the future holds additional challenges as we endeavour to guide people through uncertainty whilst projecting an aura of confidence. Whilst some people claim to know what the future holds either via supernatural agency or careful empirical analysis, ultimately, we have to deal with whatever surprises we are served. It really comes down to whether we are prepared to embrace change and try new things?

The best thing we can do is be open to the changes that will be critical to our success and that of our businesses and organisations. If you are feeling a little challenged about what may be around the corner, get started on dealing with it by doing some of these things tomorrow:

  • Talk to your new staff – Some of the best and brightest insights into what lies ahead often come from people who are new to an organisation and are not affected by the dogma that can come with spending a lot of time doing the same things. Get their ideas and find out how they see things unfolding in your industry in the future.
  • Keep connected – Like it or not, Social Media may have quite a lot to say about your industry. There are lots of opinions out there (some of them silly) some of which are worth you know about. This will give you a heads up to emerging trends or views which may assist you with your long-term planning. If you are not sure how to find what you are looking for, ask the new staff. They will know!
  • Don’t fear the future – This is more easily said than done, but being sceptical and guarded about change is more likely to create a reactive mentality. Of course, we need to approach new ideas with our eyes fully open but look around at the changes that have already impacted on your industry before you just dismiss new ideas (no matter how crazy) out of hand.
  • Encourage a future friendly culture – We hear a lot about the need for organisations to future proof themselves via investing in new equipment, processes, marketing and training for staff. It is important to remember that the very best personal future proofing you can have is your own attitude. This is also great to model for others.

Ultimately you have to ask yourself this question. Do you see the future as a place you belong by embracing change and looking for new opportunities; or a place to be feared and approached with trepidation? Only you can answer that question and your answer will have big implications not just for you, but those who work with you.