Welcome to Throw Forward Thursday. We’re doing a miniseries during this holiday season on how to use the Throw Forward Thursday videos. Every week we jump into the future and we have have a look at something that’s going on there and then we try and think about what are the implications for us today. But I want to go a little bit further during this miniseries to help you realise that this is something that you and your teams should be doing on a regular basis. Too often, organisations and teams do a strategy session, do strategic planning just once a year.
They take some time out. Maybe they go away on a management offsite or breakaway session and they spend time trying to imagine what the future looks like. That model is outdated and you shouldn’t do it. The reason for that is that change is coming at us so fast these days. They’re doing that once a year, you’re going to be hopelessly out of date.
Secondly, disruption is the key essential element of change these days. In other words, if you just do that once a year, you are very likely going to start with where you are and just make sort of tweak adjustments for the year ahead. What you really need to be doing is on an ongoing basis. You need to be taking some time out and thinking about change, disruption and the future, not to rebuild your strategic plan every month, but almost to build the capability in your team to think about the future.
If I can give you an analogy, if you go to the gym once a year and I’m busy recording this in December of 2021, and there is no doubt that once again in January and February next year, the gyms are going to be full of people who had a New Year’s resolution and they come in strong at the beginning of the year, they come in strong.
The point is they’re not strong, right? They’re not fit, they’re not healthy, they want to get better. And one of the biggest reasons people don’t keep that up is they come in and they pick up heavy weights to start with. They don’t ease themselves in. They don’t build a weekly ritual and routine that is part of their everyday lives.
They think that if you really go hard for a few days or a few weeks that you’ll see immediate change when they don’t see that change or feels too hard to do it, they then abandon it. That’s what’s going on when you do an annual strategy review, what you need to do is a weekly, and I think it needs to be weekly short meeting with your team that we like to think of it as a balcony perspective. This is language that is taken from adaptive leadership, where basically, if the dance floor is the work that has to be done and you’re dancing, that’s cool, do your dance, do your work.
But every now and again, you’ve got to walk off of the dance floor, climb the steps and get onto the balcony. It’s not just about taking a rest, although that can be important.
It’s about getting that big picture perspective, about looking at the entire system and about getting away from the Todo list of your meetings and getting to that longer term perspective. And we reckon that you and your team need to do a meeting once a week where you look at the future. Then maybe you want to call that a five minutes from the future meeting. What we mean by that? I know some of our throw forward Thursday videos run a little bit longer than five minutes, but most of them are.
We’re aiming at about five minutes, and you can either watch our videos every Thursday, they release. You can watch them any day you like, of course, but watch that to spark your imagination. Or maybe even better, take some time. Think about all of the forces that are likely to shape your business, your industry over the next few years. Then allocate that list out to your team.
Give each of your team members one thing to have a look at. Schedule them. One person a week comes to your team and you’ve only got five minutes. They can only present. I would even limit them to two minutes.
To be honest, you just want the bullet headlines of the little bit of research that they’ve done about the particular trend, the disruptive force that might be coming, the way they spark a bit of conversation. You have six, seven, eight minutes of conversation with your team. Where you say, what do you think? What might this be? What are the principles that we need to extract?
How would this impact our business in the future? Thank you very much. Everybody meeting over 10 to 15 minutes at the most. Now, if you do that every single week for the whole of the next year, I promise two things. First of all, you will spot trends.
You will be much better at seeing trends, seeing disruptions coming your way. And Secondly, your team will have their radars switched on. Your team will be much better at thinking about the future and spotting disruption when it becomes apparent and when it starts coming. In other words, it’s less important to the actual conversations you have each week, and it’s more important that you have future focused conversations. Some of them are going to be nonsense.
Some of them are not going to be valuable, but every now and again, and hopefully more and more often, increasingly, as you get better at it with your team, as you do it every week, increasingly, you’ll get better and better insights until you get those gems that actually change your business, the more you do it, the better you’ll become and the more insights you will have. So watching the future part two is get your whole team involved. Have five minutes from the future conversations once a week with your teams as part of your team’s rhythm and activate your team’s imagination and build their capabilities to imagine the future.
We come back next week and I’ll give you some techniques that you can use to actually unlock that imagination.
We’re going to talk about ridiculous ideas and future backwards thinking, but that’s next week. Join me next week as we go into the future and find out what’s there for us.
Thank you as always for joining us in the Throw Forward Thursday studio. If you’ve got any questions that you would like to ask me or any insights you’d like to share about the future, go to ask aboutthefuture.com and leave a comment there and I will pick it up. Ask aboutthefuture.com otherwise as always.
Thank you for joining us in the Throw Forward Thursday studio.
I’ll see you next week.
Graeme Codrington, is an internationally recognized futurist, specializing in the future of work. He helps organizations understand the forces that will shape our lives in the next ten years, and how we can respond in order to confidently stay ahead of change. Chat to us about booking Graeme to help you Re-Imagine and upgrade your thinking to identify the emerging opportunities in your industry.
For the past two decades, Graeme has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands, travelling to over 80 countries in total, and speaking to around 100,000 people every year. He is the author of 5 best-selling books, and on faculty at 5 top global business schools.