This winter I am again catching waves in the ocean. Since the beginning of time, the ocean has been the ultimate metaphor. With its undercurrents, riptides, waves and tsunamis, it is a metaphor for the market, the economy, and for just about anything else in life. Swimming against the current is counterproductive. Success comes when you go with the current and catch the waves.
Most people stay on the beach. I dive into the water. Since the majority prefers to watch from the outside, there are only a few of us in the water. As I got out of the water recently, an elderly couple commented how rough the ocean was that day. "For the ocean, rough is an expression of character and beauty," I replied.
Skimming two inches above the water, a flock of birds in close formation embodies precision and control. I dive into the waves, reflecting that, like dolphins and birds that make the ocean their home, I too must try to do what I am here to do, even though my precision and mastery of the environment is one hundred times less advanced than theirs.
Here are the questions that remain as the waves recede from the beach: What new waves will 2014 bring to shore? What are the undercurrents that are building power? What ideas or ventures will succeed and grow this year? What riptides may surprise us? Will we have the fortitude to act counter-intuitively? Where will the next tsunami-spawned boom occur? And what capabilities and strategies will be rewarded in this year?
In this KEY you will discover eleven trends that will boom, and eight capabilities that will be rewarded handsomely in 2014.
As always, your comments are welcome. Please forward this KEY to friends, family and associates.
The Coming Boom
Here are a few predictions about what will boom in 2014:
- Expect a boom in return on innovation. Ideas that have been in development and on the drawing board will come to fruition this year through new applications and creative utilization. Disciplined innovation, with actionable metrics and innovation portfolios that are closely aligned to strategic priorities, will see dramatic returns.
- With the shift from the knowledge economy to the wisdom and insight economy, the "Creatives" that are ready to shape and create new designs, new experiences, and new futures will expect and enjoy nearly complete freedom and autonomy. Organizations that want to attract the talented "Creatives" must transform their work spaces to eliminate silos and bureaucracies, and empower these agile and innovative leaders.
- The competition for talent will be fierce. Hiring and retaining talent will be increasingly difficult. Even now, though unemployment remains fairly high, the unemployment of the highly skilled and the "Creatives" is approaching 0%.
- Expect an unrelenting boom in blended learning and education opportunities. New content and delivery methods will continue to explode. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are enabling life-long, on-demand learning. Between my wife, my son and me, our family concurrently is taking five courses, and we plan to continue to engage in and deliver blended learning experiences.
- Expect scientific and medical breakthroughs and new integrated paradigms in medicine and wellness. We will see new approaches to health and delivery methods, including the renewal of ancient and traditional knowledge, with increased demand for and acceptance of holistic and integrated healing. Imagine cellular revitalization and energy medicine moving into main-stream practices, and supported by health insurance.
- The greatest contributors to society will be purposeful, multi-dimensional Renaissance people. Individuals increasingly will expect to live one integrated life, instead of separate professional and personal lives. Renaissance "multi-dimensionals" will design and lead a portfolio life, purposefully managing and juggling a portfolio of endeavors. Services and environments that help people integrate instead of separate the five or six main facets of their lives will thrive.
- Embracing complexity for leadership advantage and opportunity is on the rise. As our environment becomes more configured and customized, you must prepare for the coming boom in complexity and sophistication. Individuals and systems will reach the 'complexity wall' and be unable to cope. Expect an escalating demand for simplification as a counter trend. Professional services and advisories that help simplify and organize environmental complexity will see a dramatic increase in their business.
- Expect a rise in the credibility and confidence economy. In a fast-moving and ambiguous world, credibility, confidence and peace of mind are priceless. People will pay a premium for peace of mind. Solutions and services that build your credibility and confidence by creating visibility and transparency will become cool and extremely valuable. Guidance builds confidence too. Think about a GPS for your life-automated and personalized hand-holding-that provides navigation assistance and guidance in every endeavor and pursuit.
- The insight economy will accelerate. We've entered the post-knowledge era, where the premium is on meaning making. Human- and computer-generated capabilities will combine for synergistic insights that enable deeper discernment and judgment. Big Data must now deliver actionable insights. Leaders who are able to decipher and act on insights become even more valuable.
Consider insights to guide your strategic choices and resource allocation, real-time course-correction and situational reframing. We are talking about the compound power of human-generated insights coupled with the assistance of machine-generated insights. 2014 will be the year of insight velocity, where the speed of converting data into actionable insight will reach supersonic proportions.
- Expect new communities to emerge and demonstrate their necessity and power. Community eco-systems will find new vitality and expand into new spaces. For example, 2014 will see the rise of communities of shared meaning and affinity; communities of practice; and communities of purpose. Expect new forms and technologies that will enable asynchronous and synchronous collaboration and practice-sharing.
- This year will bring a wave of consciousness and spiritual awakening. New emergent spiritual thirst will sweep younger generations of people who thrive by living a life of meaning and significance that expresses their values while exercising their talent. Expect younger generations to continue to mobilize change.
Eight capabilities that will be rewarded
Below are eight capabilities for which individuals and organizations will be rewarded handsomely in 2014. You can anticipate rewards for:
- The ability to move from mutual understanding to agreement. Agreement eliminates "cross-purpose work", frees up resources and increases speed. Consider mutual trust and agreement as differentiators in speed of response and execution.
- Flexibility, agility and resilience. Imagine being the judo roll master who falls without injury and even propels forward to the next position. If you can be nomadic and think clearly on the move, you will operate on a higher plane of performance.
- Discipline and focus. Manage your endeavors as a strategic portfolio. Focus is about choosing what's important. If everything is a priority then nothing is a priority. Clearly choose, not "what else" is important but "what instead" is important. Follow the 80/20 rule relentlessly.
- Powerful framing, storytelling and compelling communication. Your ability to rise above ambiguity and confusion by creating a definitive frame that shapes the story will make you stand out as an exceptional leader.
- Courageous leadership. Creating new futures is not about sticking your toe in the water, but about making waves, big waves, tsunami waves. Think Mandela. It's about courage to transcend current circumstances, and about truly helping others transform their conditions and shape their environment. Courageous leadership is about helping people find the courage of their conviction.
- The pragmatic. It is said the best traders maintain a degree of mild confusion so that they are not caught up in dogmatic views of what the market must do, which enables them to respond freely and swiftly in trend reversals. Similarly, people who are ready to let go of entrenched ideologies and dogmatic positions will find that instead of having only one idea, they are able to see multiple alternatives from which they can identify the fastest, simplest, and most pragmatic option.
- Empathy and listening. Empathy is the biggest predictor of successful relationships. Internally, it results from listening inside and reflecting in meditation and in prayer. Externally, it arises from listening to and hearing others deeply. If you have attended one of my events and embraced the practice of Level Four Listening, you are reaping the rewards of empathy.
- Staying intact and true to cause and purpose. In a perfect storm of confusion, being guided by deep self-knowledge and remembering what you are about, where you come from and where you are heading allows you to operate in an alternate universe. The journey from idea to realization is accelerated supersonically.
Now it's your turn. Turn the key. Identify the capabilities that will help you catch the wave of the New Year and become part of the coming boom of possibilities and growth.
© Aviv Shahar