Businesses will all need two common qualities to survive the age of disruption, says trend forecaster Michael McQueen.
By Ingrid Green
The alarming regularity with which established and historically successful companies are toppling heralds a critical time for business.
There are two things author and trend researcher Michael McQueen says organisations will need to ride the rapid social and technological change ahead.
Michael is an authority on future trends, social shifts and change management. His latest book, How to Prepare Now For What’s Next specialises in helping leaders and organisations navigate disruptions ranging from artificial intelligence to driverless cars and nanotechnology.
Michael says the ability of any business to endure will centre on attitude.
“What’s the posture, or mindset you need it you want to be adaptable, ready for change?” he asks.
"With my clients that have been [successful] through a couple of stages of reinvention – if they’ve seen a lot of change in the past – the two things that resonate most are hunger and humility. "
“With my clients that have been [successful] through a couple of stages of reinvention – if they’ve seen a lot of change in the past – the two things that resonate most are hunger and humility.
“Humility, because it’s the great antidote to even the slightest hint of arrogance – that idea that we’ve got the winning formula. The moment that happens – that’s the danger zone.”
Michael refers to the “cover curse”, a term coined by US management guru Donald Sull who studied companies whose CEOs appeared – celebrating their success – on the covers of business magazines.
“Once you appear on those magazines, within a few years there was a significant downturn.”
Sull found that that feedback from the market – that praise, that adulation – creates the mindset that within those businesses that they’d struck the winning formula.
“They’ll then consciously defend that formula, and say because that’s worked this is the only way, this is the way we need to do things – because that’s what drove our success in the past.”
Combining humility and hunger avoids that dynamic within an organisation and fosters the mindset that it’s never really arrived and there’s always more to learn.”
Because there is – and will be – so much to learn. While it’s impossible to predict the future with any certainty, Michael says we just can’t ignore four key disruptors. Widescale automation, empowered consumers, unconventional competition and emerging generations will have a huge impact over all industries. Only the prepared will endure.
“I heard it recently said and it’s so true: resisting change is like trying to hold your breath – even if you’re successful it doesn’t end well.”
Like it or not, change is coming. Michael’s advice: start getting ready for it now.