How can we prepare people for a future we cannot predict?

by Janet Sernack

How can we prepare people for a future we cannot predict?

Haga clic aquí para leer este artículo en español.

As so many of us are aware, we are living in an era of extreme rapid & continuous change, driven largely by the technological leaps of the Digital Age, impacting exponential shifts in customers needs, priorities, preferences & expectations that affect all of us, no matter what business we are in, or what kind of lives we lead.

“The accelerating pace of change is unfamiliar and unprecedented. To some, this change is a threat; to others, it’s an opportunity; for most, it’s both… and we’re all struggling to adjust to this new state of dynamic equilibrium”.

What is so often forgotten is that all these changes originate in the minds of human beings, for some, who see the changes as an opportunity the ultimate outcomes will be determined by human ingenuity. For others, who see change as a threat, it will be determined by complacency, panic, anxiety and fear, where people feel that everything they know & are familiar with, is under challenge.

So, how can we prepare people to make the fundamental choice between the future as a series of threats or as a field of opportunities, that cannot be predicted or controlled?

“The ultimate outcome will be determined not by the technology itself, but by human ingenuity, collaboration, and an explicit intention to try to make the world a better place.”

At ImagineNation™ we know that organizations who invest in becoming agile to speedily adapt to changing market demands, by embracing a strategic, systemic & human centred approach, achieve mastery at the interface between people & digitization.

“What we sometimes forget is that all this change originates in the minds of human beings. Disruption isn’t just happening to us; we are the force behind it. If individuals aren’t being creative and working disruptively, businesses and technologies aren’t going to change and disrupt either”.

We also know that building an organizational culture that embraces & embodies a values-based approach, focussing on trust, creativity & collaboration, enables people to collectively & equally comfortable with what can be known and with exploring what is unknown.

We also know that the leadership& teaming paradigms have shifted, creating an increasing need for innovation coaching, to fill people’s skills as well as their “knowing-dong” gaps to survive & thrive in an ever-changing world.

Playing in both the opportunity and threat fields

Involves people having permission to be creative & work disruptively, to do this, they need to firstly expand their capability, capacity & confidence for navigating change, developing adaptiveness & innovation agility, & also exploring new ways of connecting people & technology by:

  • Working at ways to “unfreeze” the status quo, & reduce people’s fears, discomfort and resistance, which allow for deviant & opposing views, to seek out the diversity & differences of thoughts & ideas within teams.
  • Shifting from conventional ways of thinking & business as usual approaches, towards embracing risk & actively experimenting within a fail fast to learn fast context.

 Requiring leaders to demonstrate;

  • Deep conviction in their passionate purpose when navigating positive change & uncertainty.
  • Receptivity & readiness, empathy & empowerment in leading people & teams in the face of uncertainty.
  • Emotional integrity in their embodiment & enactment of deep presence & the key values & attributes they wish to see in others.
  • Customer & people centric ways of doing business balanced by commercial business acumen.
  • Execution, digital & risk mastery.

Coaching innovation leaders & teams

It is more important than ever, to teach people to unlearn, through structured coaching processes, their habitual ways of being, thinking & doing. To create the safe space for people to learn how to embrace creative & collaborative ways of enhancing their bravery, boldness, determination & courage in uncertain times by;

  • Imagining new possibilities boldly and optimistically, whilst simultaneously understanding they are quite likely to emerge sooner than expected.
  • Pursuing amusement & wonder, whilst simultaneously trusting that smart risk taking allows people to learn fast from mistakes & failure.
  • Unlearning knowing and doing what they have always done, whilst simultaneously adopting a beginner’s mind to allow new learnings to occur.
  • Being curious about the future & blend new ways of planning, including strategic foresight, scenario planning into conventional business planning.

Key capabilities to prepare people for a future we cannot predict

Some of the key competencies we can teach & coach people to help prepare them for a future they cannot predict include;

  • Design, Creative & Critical thinking to help them make sense of and perceive their worlds with fresh eyes.
  • Start Up Methodologies to experiment with new business models, with iteration & pivoting new services, products & delivery streams that can be scaled & leveraged.
  • Generative Discovery Skills in deep listening, questioning and debating to provocate & disrupt the status quo.
  • Teaming & Networking to break down silo’s, identify & maximize interdependencies, collaborate & build high value delivery eco-systems.

Making 24 minutes a day matter

In Josh Bersin’s “The Disruption of Digital Learning: Ten Things we have learned” he revealed that employees are feeling “overwhelmed” and in reality, only have “24 minutes a day to learn”.

To seriously prepare people for a future we cannot predict, then we must work harder at making people feel & believe that they matter. Doing this strategically & systemically, will energize, catalyze, mobilize and harness your people’s receptivity to change & uncertainty & unleash their innovation potential.

What really matters is culture, people’s career successes and coaching, where people feel safe, empowered & have permission to participate in on the job experiential learning, where they can learn from mistakes; supported by effective performance data and rewards systems within a culture of learning to imagine, create, capture and scale hidden value in an increasingly complex and dynamic world.

At ImagineNation™ we provide innovation coaching, education and culture consulting to help businesses achieve their innovation goals. Because we have done most of the learning and actioning of new hybrid mindsets, behaviors and skill-sets already, we can help your businesses also do this by opening people up to their innovation potential.

Haga clic aquí para leer este artículo en español.

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janet-sernackJanet Sernack is an ICF ACC accredited executive coach, corporate trainer, group facilitator and culture and change consultant with some of Australia’s and Israel’s top 100 companies. She is the Founder of ImagineNation™ an innovation education company that provides innovation e-learning programs including The Coach for Innovators Certified Program™ experiential learning events including The Start-Up Game™. Follow @JanetSernack