The future will arrive, always!
The future will arrive, always! Feeling paralyzed in the present or ignoring the force of change is futile. Different winners and losers will emerge and it is our call to decide on which side we belong.
We as individuals, organizations, and members of society assume the role we want to play. New realities will present inspiration, risk and opportunity. Yet, they also can be a place of refuge for utopias and fantasies.
As a reader of this book, you have already chosen your preference: creating new future logics. So let us explore more, and answer the following questions:
● What do you miss about the “good old days”?
● How much time do you spend on present problem solving?
● What processes have you implemented, and how do you explore the changes?
● How do you shape the future and create your vision?
● Which of the four previous questions is the most critical one today?
We all feel differently about the future, and our attitude defines how we are part of it. We can be reactive, inactive, preactive or proactive. Each of those classifications from Michel Godet defines a certain worldview, set of actions, and how we embrace change.
Reactive stands for living by past logic and achievement. It follows a reasoning using past methods, methodologies, tools and thinking to solve problems of the present. Reactive also means assuming that the logic of business doesn’t change. New changes, even the present reality, are ignored or it’s argued that they will not have potential implications for the business. Why? Because the past logic was superior, and people and society will realize it eventually.
Inactive is the focus on the present. Crisis management and problem solving allow no time to explore new futures. The strategic focus is on reducing clutter, efficiency and competition using the same logic of the traditional industrial competitors. The business prioritizes control over creativity, inside over outside, order over questioning.
Preactive describes the process of predicting the future. Organizations explore change using different types of known methods and tools. The business intelligence department creates reports, marketing conducts satisfaction surveys, and trend reports are bought and summarized for strategic planning. However, often this information is used to argue an already set strategy, and implications of the shifts for the business are not explored. Preactive describes a company that understands the importance of data, information and change, but doesn’t have the urgency to shape the future actively. This type of organization wants to ensure that they have the information and are prepared, but doesn’t shape the future.
Proactive defines an organization that shapes and creates their future, balancing desires with the ongoing changes in society. They research, provoke changes, and understand implications for themselves and society. The organizational structure is more agile to adapt and balance the short-term challenges and longer-term vision during strategic implementation. Changes are understood in depth, risks mapped, value shifts explored, and opportunities framed. Overall it is an organization that is recognized by its innovative spirit, agility and preparedness for the future
Organizations are a mix of those four dimensions, yet often with one model more present than the other.
Tip! Organizations should be more proactive, yet we have to be conscious about the implications change might bring. If you are a more reactive organization, you may have the urgency to change, but going directly to a proactive attitude would demand too hard decisions. Be aware of your present state, and the capacity for change.