Change / transformation Leadership Learning / Education Management / Strategy

The future: ‘If it is to be, it’s up to me’

Anticipation — that’s futurist Daniel Burrus’ notion that predicting the future and acting on its opportunities are skills you can learn — is more than a mere notion now.

It’s real. Let the learning begin.

Burrus was in Baltimore on May 4 to launch “The Anticipatory Organization: Accounting and Finance,” a learning model that teaches accounting and finance pros to anticipate what will happen, identify related opportunities, and take action to shape the future. It focuses on what Burrus calls our greatest missing competency — the ability to anticipate problems, disruptions, customer needs, and new opportunities before they happen.

If you follow this blog, you’ve heard all of this before. We’ve written about it here, and here, and here, and here, and here.

There’s a reason why we’ve zeroed in so often on anticipation: It’s a key way — arguably the only way — that we’ll stay ahead of the crazy pace of change.

Just when we had thought we’d heard it all, though, Burrus on May 4 offered perhaps the best argument yet why we need to learn this stuff.

CPAs pride themselves on their role as the world’s most trusted business advisors, and the only way to raise the bar on trust, Burrus said, is to be seen as relevant to our clients. Today, being relevant means spending less time crunching the numbers and more time interpreting them — turning data to information, and information to knowledge, and knowledge to wisdom. Anticipating future trends before they arrive helps us find that wisdom really, really quickly.

That makes us more relevant than ever.

One other thing: Too many people think being future-ready means being technologically savvy. Wrong. “Our problem isn’t legacy systems,” Burrus said. “It’s legacy thinking.”

In other words, anticipation is a mindset that’s focused less on reaction and more on what Burrus calls “pre-action.”

“Is change happening TO you?” he asked. “Or can you use it to your advantage to create something powerful?”

We can no longer afford to be crisis managers. Our job going forward is to manage opportunities.

As Burrus likes to say: If it can be done, it will be done — and if you don’t do it, someone else will.

Find out more about The Anticipatory Organization here:

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You’ll be hearing more shortly on how you can adopt the “Anticipatory Organization” model. Stay tuned. In the meantime, check out these recaps from the May 4 launch:


William D. Sheridan