The coronavirus pandemic has turned the world upside down and to find out what the future may hold, for industry in particular, BLM caught up with futurist Nick Jankel.
We are all facing the reality of a dangerous viral pandemic that has spread around the world. Aside from the personal implications this brings and the impact that it is having on our daily lives – unimaginable a few months ago – there is also the unmistakable disruption to the global economy that we have to contend with.
I’m sure many of you have had to cancel important events, change your plans or have even faced harsher realities such as bankruptcy.
I’m a futurist, and people often think being a futurist is about talking about the future – about what’s coming. But actually, it is about anticipating what’s almost certain to happen and being able, when it does happen, to adapt. This is the key to transformation.
Transformation is a way of adapting ourselves as individuals, leaders and organizations to the changing world. So when we realize that a major worldwide conference has just been postponed or cancelled, or that our business is being threatened – that is the moment where we are called to choose a path; to pivot out of necessity.
VUCA – standing for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous – couldn’t be characterized more than as a viral pandemic spreading around the world and destabilizing what was already a fragile economy and a destabilized global system, which we’ve witnessed with the recent fires in Australia, in California and severe floods in the UK.
The political disturbances we are all dealing with now – this is VUCA. The virus is VUCA. There will inevitably, in the future, be more challenging events that none of us have lived through.
The interesting thing about our brains is that we’re using the same neurons – the same brain systems that evolved over millions of years to help us become Homo Sapiens and wander around the savannahs of Africa before spreading around the world.
This is the same biology we have today. But today we have to deal with our KPIs for the day; our goals; our plans; our to-do list. At the same time we are processing all our emotional challenges, asking: am I going to contract this virus? Can I get hand sanitizer?
And at the same time we have to be able to think about the future: what do I need to do to adapt to what’s happening now? What’s coming towards me next?
And yet, we’ve only got the same neurons. Our neurons can’t evolve per se. We can evolve our signature neural pathways.
But we can’t change the basic structure of our brains. So what we actually need to do is to upgrade our consciousness – the software that runs on the hardware of our brains – and we need to be able to make that choice. We need to be able to get ourselves to a point where we are not just scared and shutting down and pulling out and withdrawing or getting angry or complaining or being upset.
We actually need to use these moments as opportunities – as invitations – to switch on and step up as leaders.
Becoming a leader
This means being a leader wherever you are in an organization: whether you’re at the top, the middle or the bottom. We are all invited to become leaders of transformation and it starts by experiencing what’s going on, and not pushing it away or pretending it’s not there.
We bring the experience in to our bodies, into our minds where we can metabolize it and turn it into value. And what results from that process might be a new marketing idea.
It might be a new way of doing a meeting that we had to cancel. It might be a new innovation in our business model that helps us adapt to this kind of VUCA world where people are going to travel a little less for the foreseeable future.
But that’s actually a good thing, because we don’t want all of us flying all over the world. That’s not sustainable either.
So we find ourselves in these moments of stress: facing the VUCA world, the virus, the climate change headlines, the political headlines. And we have to face these challenges.
It matters not what domain of life or sphere of activity you want to lead and land transformations in. The theory, methodology, thinking, practices, and tools of Bio-Transformation Theory® that you will find in my new book Now Lead The Change: Future-proof your career, your organization, and our world by mastering the science and wisdom of transformational leadership are as relevant to leading a family or local community as they are to leading a global corporate or an entire nation.
New emotional state
We have a choice. And this is what I spend my life as a transformation catalyst helping people and organizations to do – sharing not just ideas and trends about what the future is going to be about and what technology and what issues we have to all engage with.
In my work I bring people into a different emotional state, a different mindset, so that they can embrace what’s occurring and metabolize it into value for your organization, for your network and for your people.
In our fast-changing and uncertain world, no product, organisation, leadership strategy or business model stays successful for long. We need to consciously break through the past, if we want to forge the future