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That is my opinion, interpretation, and bias about the future. It is not set in stone but malleable if we know how to sculpt it. We must think and plan for the long-term and act in the short term, and use our successes as milestones and failures as resources for learning. I believe a critical leadership competency is becoming totally aware of our biases when studying the information and research offered to frame trends before we make decisions.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb mentioned in his book, The Black Swan, that being able to look around the corner and see the future demands that are outside our biases. A few of Taleb’s biases follow.
Which do you model?
• Bandwagon effect – do or believe things because many other people do the same;
• Illusion of control – believe we can control or influence outcomes we clearly can’t; • Planning fallacy – underestimate time and resources needed for task comple- tion; and
• Wishful thinking – the formation of beliefs and making decisions according to what is pleasing to imagine instead of the evidence or rationality.
I offer the following trends sited in the November-December 2012 issue of The Futurist, published by The World Future Society, as an opportunity to observe your biases. How can you and your association take the initiative in these new opportunities? What organizational biases will need to be overcome?
Corporate (and association) reputation ratings will be even more transparent. Robert Moran in his article “Ratoecracy and Corporate Reputation,” discussed how organizations’ reputations will be quantified, where customers, suppliers and employees will gain power. Today, we use eBay, Yelp, Angie’s List and a myriad of others to rate our consumer experiences and levels of satisfaction. Soon enough, we will also rate corporations on their behavior. Members will do so on their associations by appreciating and dishing their products, services and events. This will mark a completely new era of reputation, transparency and perceived value. If the necessary technologies are in place now to create a real-time, reputational rating system for organizations can association be far behind being rated?
New corporate leaders with new skills are on the way. Geoffrey Colon, in his “Shakeups in the ‘C-Suite:’ Hail to the New Chiefs” article, cites how the future “will be shaped by leaders adept in social networking, content management, data mining and data meaning.” New positions in these areas are needed to effectively shape our future just as innovative marketing strategies did 35 years ago. Now chief marketing officers help drive both corporations and associations value and vision. They connect to the needs of the consumer/member. As social communities grow their influence, new staff positions will be needed to manager those relationships and their impact. Possible new job titles:
– earned media officer will be needed as many companies and associations are moving away from the “paid” silo (magazine ads) and operate more in the “owned” (websites) and “earned” (word-of-mouth buzz) areas;
– open-source manager will collaborate and share best practices with outside companies/associations;
– chief linguist will be key to interpret how people speak within the world of social networks, creating new and making use of existing shorthand expressions. If future communications with members are at a 140-character limit, this position will be responsible for crafting the best communications.
SHRM, in its Challenges Facing HR Over the Next 10 Years research results, circulated the following findings to its members. If these trends are currently effecting associations and the members they serve, what impact and influence will these trends have on the programs, events and communications your association is planning?
– The three biggest challenges facing human resources executives are: retaining and rewarding the best employees; developing the next generation of corporate leaders; and creating a corporate culture that attracts the best employees to organizations.
– The four most critical competencies in 10 years will be business acumen; organizational leadership and navigation; relationship management; and communication.
– Nonprofit organizations are more likely than privately owned for-profit organizations to indicate that creating an organizational culture where trust, open communication and fairness are emphasized and demonstrated by leaders is one of the most effective tactics in attracting, retaining and rewarding the best employees.
Every professional researcher knows the effect personal bias can have on results. What most leaders lack is the realization that this distinction exists as a filter through which all communication and action passes. Please set aside your always-present pre-conceived opinions and biases to see the possibilities that could present themselves in the future. “Knowing” about a trend is not all there is to know.
“If you get caught up in things over which you have no control, it will adversely affect those things over which you have control.” – John Wooden
Blanken is an experiential workshop presenter and keynoter, strategic facilitator, organizational innovator and creativity expert. Contacted her at firstname.lastname@example.org.