Hello Leader,

A new decade is here, just a few weeks away. Extraordinary! Is time speeding up? Or is it just me? This Key is about “Who will you be?” in this threshold decade. The run up to 2020 is likely to be relentless, surprising…with complex challenges and hopeful breakthroughs. Our message is twofold:

  1. Start as you intend to go on. Be in 2010 the greater person you hope to be in 2020. In wisdom, impact, generosity and more.
  2. Co-create the future you choose to live in.

On a personal note, I choose to focus on growth, value creation, transformation and the fantastic development opportunities I see ahead. This is the future I choose to create.

Make time before the end of the year to reflect, to appreciate your accomplishments and all that you cherish. Try to elevate your view beyond the exigency of the moment. Reflect on your hopes and aspirations for the coming decade: Who will you be? What will you help and serve? What principles will guide you? Please let me know if I can be of assistance in your endeavors. As always, you are welcome to forward this KEY to friends, family and associates.


Aviv Shahar

Ted Clark, SVP & GM, Notebook GBU, Hewlett-Packard:
“Congratulations on putting together a “best-in-class” strategy offsite… wanted to let you know how well I thought it went. Our strategy summit was very beneficial and an important step in taking our leadership team to the next level. As we reflect on our decisions and actions this year I think we will look back on the offsite as a very important step in driving our success. Thanks for all of the hard work. Well done.”

A Decade Of Transformation – Who Will You Be?

“What will this next decade be like?” I asked at a recent future-think-tank meeting. The question produced a sense of unease and uncertainty. None of us knew. We don’t like to not know, to not have answers. Our culture tends to couple confidence and worth with the ability to provide answers. We tend to look forward and extrapolate from recent experience to create what we believe is a plausible future story. In the Black Swan, Nassim Taleb explores the idea of the Narrativity Trap; namely, that your need to find order in randomness, to turn scattered points into a consistent and logical narrative, creates a skewed rationalization of the past, which you then project forward to prolong the pattern, to hold onto a coherent map of the world. Sooner or later the map cannot withstand the dynamic shape-shifting nature of reality.

Welcome to a Threshold Decade

Here are some of the words put forward by the participants in our think-tank to describe their instinct as to what the coming decade will be like: fast and furious, relentless and volatile, complex and multi-faceted, shape-shifting, surprising and unthinkable; triggering in people extraordinary resourcefulness, intelligence, pain and hope, with tsunamis of geopolitical, economical, technological and societal changes, awakening wisdom and a shift in consciousness. (“Tsunami” implies a wave of change originated by a tectonic shift that cannot be contained.)

The Long Night

One picture that emerged was that if you are not proactive and wise in designing your life, your career and your world, you can find yourself grinding through the coming decade as if it were one long day or one long night or one long winter. This perspective highlights the importance of your networks, friends and community as a reservoir of support to help your resilience and transformation.

The New Fifth

A second perspective was that in 2020 at least one fifth of the workforce will be engaged in jobs that do not exist today, addressing needs and problems not identified as yet and applying technologies that have not been created or thought about thus far. From that perspective, our way of reasoning and interpreting, based on where we each find ourselves individually and in the societal and professional context, may be insufficient to meet the dynamic challenges and opportunities ahead. This outlook highlights the capacity to learn and assimilate new requirements appearing with the transformation and operate with confidence and humility in the face of ambiguous situations.

The Game-changing Innovations

The third outlook was buoyant and hopeful. It proposed that the complex challenges this decade presents will release extraordinary resourcefulness, resilience of spirit and collective wisdom; producing fantastic solutions and innovations and creating surprising progress. Just as one example: imagine ubiquitous solar-powered living, Zero-Point-energy discoveries and a myriad of Energy Harvesting technologies that will meet growing global demands. This third foresight expects incredible breakthroughs and game-changing developments in other fields, impacting social behavior, culture and quality of life. It highlights the innovative and entrepreneurial capacities and the transformative potential of inter-generational collaboration to initiate social change.

The Age of Transformation

The fourth perspective highlights the economic value of transformation. The value offering of an agrarian economy was raw materials made available and produced at the speed of the seasons. Industrial economy accelerated the production cycle and offered the value of products and goods. In the service economy, the value offering shifted from products to customers and their needs. The increased sophistication of society then gave rise to a ‘solution-design economy’ where premium value is found in clever, cool and innovative solutions. The new world of mobile interconnectivity brought tremendous possibilities and freedom, but also created a new set of demands on people, at times almost enslaving them. In the post-modern society, we put a premium on memorable experiences, which become a way to find and reclaim a sense of self.

This outlook proposes that the central theme of the coming decade will be one of transformation. Individuals, organizations and society will seek experiences that facilitate and enable transformation. We will engage and collaborate because it helps us accelerate the transformation. Effective leadership will seek to co-create, mobilize and inspire transformation.

Transformational Strategies

Our think-tank exploration highlighted five transformational strategies that will go a long way in the coming decade to produce sustainable results:

1. Make Peace> – Put old conflicts to rest. Do not feed intractable situations. Resolve to side-step or disarm obstacles. Do not react to old obstructions. Do not obsess about unimportant things. Do not let ideas of perfection stop you. These things tend to suck you down rabbit holes that are dead-enders. Stop the bleeding. Your time and your energy are precious. Move forward peacefully.

2. Make Space – De-clutter your life. In a volatile and relentless world your first order of business is to make space. Do not overbook yourself. Do not overcrowd your work space. Look around, remove and clear out what you no longer need. If it takes space and brings no value, it blocks the way for something better. Clear your space daily and weekly. Make time to reflect on what’s important, to think, to be fully present. Make space for new opportunities.

3. Make A New Start – Allow yourself a new beginning. Don’t let your mind or view of yourself and of what you can or cannot do calcify. The best things happen when you step into new unknown situations. Have confidence in your ability to discover, learn and assimilate new requirements and possibilities. Trust that you can make a new beginning. You learn to swim best when you jump into the deep end. Make a new start.

4. Create Value – Attend to what is present here and now. Recognize and name the needs. Remove stress. Bring relief. Improve conditions. Develop capabilities. Create new options. Sculpt the possibilities. The next breakthrough is always nearby. When it gets tough, the breakthrough is even closer. Embrace challenge, it holds the key to the work you must do. Mentor, teach, coach and empower others to create value.

5. Create The Future – Make and create the future – your future and your organization’s future. Connect the dots. Cultivate opportunities. The story you live is unfinished. You create it now. It is undetermined. Your job as a leader is to enable what was impossible yesterday. To integrate the un-integrate-able and to help us source ourselves. You are a leader because you help us see and realize new options and create anew our story. There is always a new leg on this journey. There is always a new opportunity. Embark on the next step. Create the moment. Life itself is the poetry. Joy and pain, struggle and triumph, are a syncopation we all discover. Awaken wisdom. Cultivate freedom. Become the bridge to tomorrow. Facilitate and promote growth in others. Help us create significance together.

Now it’s your turn. Turn the KEY. Help your teams and communities discover transformational strategies. Make peace. Make space. Make a new start. Create value. Create the future.

Our Leadership and Talent Programs help you focus on your strengths and create transformation. We help you develop transformational strategy and create breakthroughs. Call us to find out how we can help grow and create your future.

© Aviv Shahar