“So, you’re like ‘Step Zero’ then, are you?” We were doing some work a few years ago with the consulting arm of one of the Big Four accounting firms, and one of their team was trying to find a way to position our involvement with a particularly detail oriented client. “Step zero” in their strategic consulting processes was the best description they could find. I was recently reminded of this characterisation of our value proposition as I ran a workshop for a group of young graduate engineers, and was showing them some of our strategic insights team’s latest views on the disruptive forces shaping the world right now.
During the Q&A session afterwards, one of the graduates asked me about my job title and exactly how what category of work my job fit into – he was battling to understand our work, I think; or maybe he was hoping to work out how he could develop his career path towards what I do for a living. Whatever the reason for the question, it was a good question because very few corporates have a department for the work that our team at TomorrowToday does.
We could be called “futurists” – but we don’t really make that many predictions. We focus on tracking disruptive change that is actually already happening, and showing our clients how deep structural change in other industries or geographies may come soon to their marketplace. Our research team provides us with a constant stream of case studies and examples that show how – and why – the world is changing around us. But we steer clear of wild predictions and speculation.
We could be called “consultants”, because we do provide board advisory services and help many of our clients to plot a path to a new future. But we’re not really consultants. We believe that our clients are clever people, and that we can never know their businesses and industries as well as they do. We’re skeptical of the “black box” type consultants that come in and try and tell their clients what to do.
We are often called “motivational speakers”. We do hope that our presentations and workshops inspire and motivate behaviour change – and there’s plenty of evidence that they do – but we really don’t like to be put into this category. We happen to spend a lot of our time speaking and presenting workshops, but our goal is not to give people a nice time, make them laugh or provide a short-term motivational boost for the audience. We pride ourselves in deep insights, well presented. But the outcome is not “motivation”. The outcomes we aim for are understanding of the world around us, confidence in anticipating change, an ability to see the world differently and a desire to move their organisation and teams forward.
So, when I was asked where we fitted into corporate structures, my best answer was to recall that conversation from a few years ago. We are indeed best at being “step zero” in our clients’ strategy processes. When the senior leaders of an organisation become aware that success in their industry will increasingly rely on doing things that they have not done before, innovating and disrupting their industries, they begin by attempting to create a new strategic vision for their organisations. That’s step one. From there they move to what, where, who and how in developing both strategy and tactics. But for this new strategic approach to work for them, they need as many of their team as possible to understand WHY change is needed. This is “step zero”, and it is what we do.
In that way, we help our clients to make their lives just a little bit easier. Too often, the work of getting the whole team pointed in a new direction is avoided or ignored.
Our insights into the changing world of work, packaged in easily accessible presentations and workshops, and laced with a gently rebuking humour, help our clients to develop a shared vocabulary of change and the disruptions that they’re facing. We work hard to help them to see “tomorrow’s world today”, and to know how they need to think and act differently in the future. Some of our best work has been done with senior leadership teams who have become concerned that the senior managers and people within their organisations need to lift their eyes above their day to day activities and see the compelling need for change.
If you’d like to know more about what our team does, or how we can help to make your life just a little bit easier, please contact us.