Reports from the Knowledge Labs about our recent findings, research topics, and interviews with lifestyle leaders who are creating their own futures.

How to stimulate your own powers of foresight. Consider the following thought provokers. Ask yourself, in these categories what are the brand new trends and forces? Which are the ones growing in importance? Which current forces are loosing their steam? Which have peaked or are reversing themselves? Which are the "wildcards" about to disrupt us in the future? POLITICAL AND TECHNICAL thought for food: Electronics, Materials, Energy, Fossil, Nuclear, Alternative, Other, Manufacturing (techniques), Agriculture, Machinery and Equipment, Distribution, Transportation (Urban, Mass, Personal, Surface, Sea, Subsurface, Space), Communication (Printed, Spoken, Interactive, Media), Computers (Information, Knowledge, Storage & Retrieval, Design, Network Resources), Post-Cold War, Third World, Conflict (Local, Regional, Global), Arms Limitation, Undeclared Wars, Terrorism, Nuclear Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Governments (More/Less Power and Larger or Smaller Scale), Taxes, Isms: Nationalism, Regionalism, Protectionism, Populism, Cartels, Multinational Corporations, Balance of Trade, Third Party Payments, Regulations (OSHA, etc.) Environmental Impact, U.S. Prestige Abroad. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC Food for thought: Labor Movements, Unemployment / Employment Cycles, Recession, Employment Patterns, Work Hours / Schedules, Fringe Benefits, Management Approaches, Accounting Policies, Productivity, Energy Costs, Balance of Payments, Inflation, Taxes, Rates of Real Growth, Distribution of Wealth, Capital Availability and Costs, Reliability of Forecasts, Raw Materials, Availability and Costs, Global versus National Economy, Market versus Planned Economies, Generations: Y, X, Boomers, Elderly, Urban vs. Rural Lifestyles, Affluent vs. Poor, Neighborhoods and Communities, Planned or Organic Growth. Got Knowledge?

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The Journal of 2020 Foresight
Monday, August 28, 2006  

Internal Change Agents: Not Too Tan, Not Too Red to Reinvent on a Flat Earth

Chapter Four: The Tribal Territories

By Steve Howard, CKO
The Knowledge Labs

Table of Contents
Chapter One: Basecamp
Chapter Two: The Ridge
Chapter Three: The Outpost
Chapter Four: The Tribal Territories

"As you sort out and weigh your multiple identities -- consumer, employee, citizen, taxpayer, shareholder -- you have to decide. So you prefer the Wal-Mart approach or the Costco approach? This is going to be an important political issue in a flat world: Just how flat do you want corporations to be when you factor in all your identities? Because when you take the middleman out of business, when you totally flatten your supply chain, you also take a certain element of humanity out of life."

Thomas Friedman, “The World is Flat”

DOUBLE NICKEL RANCH. So, bottom line – this is all about finding the best fit for you in the same or different geographical location. You can target one of four types of organizations. Or one or two phases in an organization’s growth that fit you best in a way that increases your career equity and marketability.

Journal of 2020 Foresight: We began these series of discussions about the second half of a different model – the “right hemisphere” which is all about “Work Life.”

Explorer: That’s right. Both you and Eagle described how to do what you love and how to future-proof your life plans.

J2020F: All about what we’d call the “left hemisphere” described as the extended Boomer family making decisions about life, love and quality of life communities.

Explorer: Of the four scenarios you described, the most disturbing as a future for Boomers was the “Trapped and Permanently Temporary.” The decision boiled down to finding the right fit for employment in the same or a different location.

J2020F: That’s true. No matter where you look in a geographical area, if you know which stages of growth – start-up, rapid growth, sustained growth, maturity and decline or reinvention-- appeal to your strengths and you can determine which phase a new employer, client or customer is in or about to begin, you will find the right fit.

Explorer: The trick to working for others boils down to a matter of understanding if you fit in one of the Agent, Athlete, Associate or Academic tribal communities. What’s more important to you – a fast pace or a methodical pace? Can you become a loyal company man or woman, or do you crave independence?

J2020F: Then what do you do about it?

Explorer: If you are more of an Agent – then you’ll shine in the start-up phase and in the initial stage of emerging growth. Depending upon the degree of affiliation you require – you may discover that you have a flair for intrepreneuring or collaborating with change agents in the reinvention stage.

J2020F: Or you may want to pursue the lone eagle path to join a rapid-prototyping or an R&D outfit, a think tank or a commercial product laboratory in a pristine or resort community.

Explorer: I think that the most difficult choice is for former Academics – those overly specialized professionals who get caught in the reductions in force from mature organizations spiraling into a decline. They make up the ranks of Interim Middle Managers, those Starting Over or the Portfolio Professionals and Digitally Mobile looking for a new job.

J2020F: Their contribution, that keeps them employed along the reinvention path, is harvesting proprietary best practices generated from a skunk works, right?

Explorer: True. They tend to take on more entrepreneurial Athletic characteristics and thrive on the loosened organizational structure – more so than their more traditional Academic counterparts.

J2020F: Don’t they have a lot in common with the Athletes, who share Academic characteristics?

Explorer: They do, because decisions have to be made about what to keep and what to throw out – or outsource to suppliers.

J2020F: And, to have the systems in place to monitor the supply chain and partnerships required to produce products and services efficiently.

Explorer: But the glue that holds the reinvention path together comes from the Associate-Agents who become internal change agents. They have to thoroughly and intimately understand the old culture – where the points of major resistance lie and how to interpret new niche discoveries and their resultant breakthrough products in a way that the status-quo advocates accept in the time required.

J2020F: I guess if I were a new executive in my first one hundred days, I’d want to match my leadership style to the needs of the organization. What are my options?

Explorer: Well you have four options depending upon if you conclude you have the time to revitalize or renew or need to take more direct action to restructure or realign. For larger organizations you’ll want to develop a reinvention capacity before you need it so you can cause your major competitor to react to you rather than the other way around.

J2020F: Since every organization has a stage, all I'd have to do is pick the right cast for the next act, right?

Got Knowledge?
Copyright ©2002 - 2006 Aarnaes Howard Associates. All rights reserved worldwide.

7:21 AM

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