“Change is hard. Transformation is even harder!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
At the end of the month, I’ll find myself in Kansas City, with a keynote for a CEO leadership meeting for a massive global infrastructure company. He is bringing his team together for the first time since Covid for some strategizing and planning – and wants me to help set the stage as to why the organization must transform itself for a fundamentally different future.
The word ‘transformation‘ has been used a lot in our discussions as he recognizes that the massive disruption underway in his industry means that everything is changing pretty rapidly, and the company must change at the same speed. The changes can’t be small – a fundamental and complete transformation is required. He recognizes that everything the company does and how it does is changing forever and that if they don’t step up to the realities of this, they will fall behind.
The other day, in advance of one of our planning calls, I put together a list of how his world is changing, and this applies to you too. The future will see fundamental transformation in:
- the products you develop
- the services you deliver
- the methodologies you use
- the materials at the heart of it
- the skills that are required
- the speed with which you operate
- the speed at which you are impacted
- the competitors that you face
- the revenue that you generate
- the age group of those you were up against the collaboration you require
Transformation is far more difficult than nibbling around the edges of change, and it’s been a focus of many of my talks. Even NASA had to struggle with the deep transformation that must come with the future and invited me in a number of years ago to address the issue with a leadership team. Consider the context at the time – commercialization of the space industry was picking up, ending a world that previously only saw national agencies in the industry.
Some folks in the organization were still struggling with this issue – some viewed a future with new partners like SpaceX to be a threat – others saw it as an opportunity. But clearly, the world was going to involve a different future- and a complete and fundamental transformation was necessary, not just simple change. My job was to set the stage for the reality of the future, to help them align to reality. You can read the summary post of my dinner talk here.
This reality is common to so many organizations today. How big is the change that our future involves? Start with this post: 20 Trends into 2030: Are You Ready for the Massive Transformation of Just About Everything?
For years, I’ve been describing leadership and the future on stage with a simple structure. It’s by being focused on three questions: what can I do to run the business better, grow the business, and most importantly, transform the business?
It’s the final issue that is so critical in today’s disruptive era!