Future Ready Summary


Summary of Mee-Yan Cheung “Future Ready Leadership” conversation with clients at Flow Group. Smock Alley Theatre, July 12 2016

1. What’s Happening?

Six current trends impacting the future of organisations & leadership:

a) World is becoming more complex.
Top 5 Trends that will impact the future of our organisations include:

-       Technology breakthroughs
-       Resource scarcity and climate change
-       Shifts in global economic power
-       Demographic shifts
-       Rapid urbanisation

b) Global financial resources are decreasing
Many leading economies are highly indebted & have high budget deficits

c) There is explosion in internet and wireless communication platforms
“Technological change is happening so rapidly and so profoundly it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history”

- Raymond Kurzweill (termed the “restless genius” by the Wall Street Journal)

d) Ever-increasing customer awareness (and demand) of what they want
Implies greater demand for access, transparency, accountability, sustainability. Oh, and much higher expectations.

e) Population movement is endemic
WEF notes that by 2050 there will be near-doubling of the urban population. Urban population will account for 70% of global.

f) Shift in demographics
For example, by 2050 Japan’s total population is projected to shrink and because of the aging population there will be almost as many non-workers as workers.

2. What does the future of organisations look like?

In summary, organisations will transform towards holocracy rather than hierarchy to deal with the increasing complexity and changing uncertainty.

Holocarcy means:

1. More flexible structure (with clear roles and accountabilities)
2. Meetings geared towards action, not analysis
3. More Autonomy to teams and individuals
4. Unique decision-making process (to continuously evolve the structure)

With ever-evolving structures the 21st century organisation will have the following characteristics:

1. Self-organised
2. Relationship and interaction-oriented
3. Transforming through constant learning
4. Governed by Simple Rules
5. Comfortable with Polarity

3. What are the implications for leaders?

“Farmers don’t grow crops. They create the conditions for crops to grow.”

- Gareth Morgan

Leadership’s key characteristics for new-world organisation:

1. Balances Polarity (eg. Incremental AND Radical change)
2. Focus and Develop the “Middle”
3. Make relationships the top work
4. Be a mix between Hero AND Servant leader
5. Run the organisation as a Social Movement

4. How to become a Future Ready leader…

Become a “Positive Deviant”

-       Possess a strong sense of self-efficacy

-       Biased towards action

-       Driven by convictions and values

-       Able to join forces with others

-       Optimistic in the face of challenge

-       Able to achieve small wins (precipitating a sense of hope)

“What we do today creates the future of tomorrow”


The Flow Team