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Top Blog: Your Best Future’s 50

By Bill Jensen

As we look forward, we must also continue to remember the past. In our Thinkers50 Top Blog series, we revisit the ideas of our Thinkers.

50 Fast Future Strong Facts, Practices, and Ahas

My team and I just returned from time traveling. We spent several years asking over 7,000 leaders across the globe, “What are the toughest choices you must make to create the best possible future for your firm?”

We went beyond all the hyperventilating about disruptive futures. We wanted to know how leaders made future strong choices, how they will make the future work.

Consider the Top 3 and Then Surf

Because your time is short, I’ve organized this list into the top three things you must know, and then I’d suggest skimming to find your top five takeaways. All 50 come from the Jensen Group’s Future of Work Study, and my book, Future Strong.

TOP 3

  1. The future is personal. It reveals itself to you only after you have made a deeply personal choice about how you will embrace it.
  2. The future is outside your comfort zone. To get there successfully, you’ll need to make choices you’re not yet ready to make.
  3. Human capacity is maxed out with today’s 20th century hierarchies, people and performance systems. To realize your firm’s truly limitless capacity, you must disrupt and reimagine those systems. See 2 for how.

IT’S THE PEOPLE!

  1. 86% say “Free us to succeed:” Number one future strong leadership choice. See 3 for why.
  2. Less than 10% of the mainstream workforce can achieve their dreams where they currently work.
  3. 88 out of every 100 employees believe that their employer does not respect their time or use it wisely.
  4. Engagement is such an incomplete and corporate-centered measure that it is deceptively dangerous to leadership.
  5. The workforce of the future is reimagining the relationship. They see companies as vehicles to help them achieve their dreams and goals. If your company is not good or effective at doing that, they’ll leave.
  6. The current relationship between companies and the workforce is like marrying into a dysfunctional family. Only you don’t get to leave when the holiday meal is over.
  7. Instead of getting the leaders we deserve, most employees report an abundance of: ShitRollsDownhill Shovelers, ShitCatchers, NewShitCreators.

FUTURE THOUGHTS

  1. Becoming secure with insecurity is the best security that you can have. ~Roz Savage
  2. The eyes of the future are looking back at us and demand that we get this right. ~Stephen Ritz
  3. Vulnerability, living on that edge of risk, is when you truly start living! ~Morgana Bailey
  4. Leading with love is powerful. You must discover your own Inner Mandela. ~Felix Maradiaga
  5. There are times when the vision is so important, and contrary to the reality on the ground, that you just need to stand up and take that risk. ~Gidon Bromberg

5 FUTURE STRONG CHOICES

  1. Will you hear the heartbeat of your past choices?
  2. Who have you chosen to become?
  3. How will you choose to be vulnerable?
  4. What are the best hardships for your best future?
  5. Who will you choose to have your back?

BEHIND THOSE CHOICES

  1. You will experience 100 transformative moments every year.
  2. Of those 100, driven, focused people know which 3—5 to seize each year as crucial to their future.
  3. Your choices are where the future begins.
  4. Are you the hero of your own journey?
  5. Hardships are not created equal. We must start selecting our best hardships for your best future.
  6. We each must do a better job of choosing which hardships are best for our future, not just for the company’s.
  7. We each must do a better job of calling upon our crucible moments — experiences that forged or tested how we view the world.
  8. Most corporate infrastructures are massive time-wasters and demoralizing energy-suckers.
  9. Far too much horrific waste of human capacity is disguised as order, predictability, and minimizing uncertainty.
  10. Glacier and Hare: Companies have been hyperfast at changing cost and efficiency systems, glacially slow in changing people systems.
  11. Leaders must embrace each individual’s right to choose his or her own hardships and talk about that openly, as heretical as that sounds.
  12. The workforce needs to be more focused on their own portfolio of work. Too much work that benefits the company, but not them, is shackling their future.
  13. Every leader should spend time every year doing frontline level work, to truly grasp how hard we make it for most people to do great work.
  14. Everyone who works needs 8—16 we-have-each-other’s-backs relationships.
  15. Courage: The one thing that’s missing to create the next fundamental shift in capacity.
  16. Everything you do uses a portion of someone else’s life. Are you using their lives wisely?

FUN FACT

  1. Up to 9% of your workforce text while they have sex.

CONCERNING FACTS

  1. Our current attention span is that of a goldfish.
  2. 3 of top 5 timewasters in everyone’s day relate to communication.
  3. Information inside your company is doubling every 500 days or less.
  4. By 2020, most everyone who works must be at least proficient in 16 different skillsets.
  5. By 2030, 25 major economies around the world will face massive labor shortfalls.
  6. You are facing a global talent timebomb: There simply are not enough people with the right skills for 21st century jobs.
  7. 20% of us truly know who we are, and how to leverage that. 80% of us believe we know who we are, but don’t really.

STRONG OR SHACKLED?

  1. Future Strong is filled with disruptive heroes. Are you one?
  2. Future Shackled is when uncertainty is the enemy, and must be beaten into submission.
  3. Futures Strong is grace, kindness, gratitude, within a pressure cooker.
  4. Future Shackled is when tomorrow is anchored and managed to maximize the minimizing of uncertainty.
  5. Future Strong is as focused on the success of every individual as it is on organizational success.
  6. Future Shackled is sacrificing personal dreams, goals and success for the company’s dreams, goals and success.

About Bill Jensen

Bill Jensen is CEO of the Jensen Group, a New Jersey-based change consulting firm, focused on the future of work. His next book, Future Strong, debuts in October. Please visit simplerwork.com for more information. Follow Bill on Twitter @simpletonbill.

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