Change / transformation Leadership Learning / Education

Anticipation: Few things are as important

I hate to sound like a broken record here, but this anticipation stuff? It’s important — really, really important.

I’m talking about futurist Daniel Burrus’ belief that anticipation — the ability to identify future trends before they happen and act on them before the competition does — is perhaps the most important missing competency in business today.

It’s not a new concept. We’ve been talking about it since 2010, when futurist Andrew Zolli told us how successful leaders are able to detect the weak signals of disruptive change on the horizon.

But the notion has picked up steam lately, thanks to the breakneck pace of change and complexity.

It was driven home with authority by a recent KPMG report. The results of that study found that one-third of U.S. board members and executives are worried that change and complexity are threatening to render their corporate strategies irrelevant.

Here’s how Accounting Today summarized the report:

The survey … found that more than three out of four said management tends to use outdated assumptions in setting strategy. Thirty-two percent of those surveyed said they are “very concerned” that management tends to use “more of the same” assumptions regarding key factors and uncertainties in setting strategy, and another 46 percent said they are “somewhat concerned.”

Survey respondents ranked economic uncertainty (61 percent), technology and innovation (58 percent), and government regulation (57 percent) as having the most significant impact on the company’s strategy or the assumptions underlying it.

Interestingly, Burrus himself has said most “hard trends” — things that we know will happen — can be grouped into three categories: technology, demographics, and government regulation.

Get it? The world’s smartest futurists have spent years warning us about the stuff that’s just now beginning to rock our world.

Turns out they’re called futurists for a reason.

The great thing is, there’s a proven way to predict what’s to come and build truly future-focused corporate strategies. It’s called “The Anticipatory Organization™: Accounting and Finance Edition.” It’s a revolutionary new learning system that will teach you to see the future and act on it — and to do so in bite-sized chunks, then apply what you’ve learned directly to your career and your organization. It’s relevant, it’s actionable, and according to Accounting Today, it’s one of the top new products for 2016.

If you have a few minutes, listen to this conversation between Burrus and MACPA Executive Director Tom Hood. It will tell you all you need to know about the importance of future-focused work.

Nothing you do going forward will be more important.



William D. Sheridan