March 16, 2011
Posted by Joan V. Gallos
In my last post, I suggested we can all become more creative and flexible leaders by anticipating and planning for an increasingly complex future.
I took my own advice and looked ahead five years, identifying major changes that will impact leaders across sectors and industries. My top ten (in no particular order):
- 1. The mainstreaming of green globally. We’re all getting smarter about what we are doing to ourselves and the planet.
- 2. Unprecedented consumer empowerment. Everyone is a potential global critic who can generate a groundswell with a few strategic clicks and posts.
- 3. Increases in mobile technology development and use. Apps and more apps. E-book readers. Smart phones. I-pads. Notebooks. We’ve only just begun.
- 4. A rise in social media outlets and use. Young people are constant users. Professionals are Linked In. Baby boomers (and everyone from my old hometown, it seems) adores Facebook. Wait until the boomers retire. There’ll be no stopping their capacities to befriend – and they’ll join their children and grandchildren in wanting more.
- 5. The decentralization of power. The Middle East and Northern Africa offer important national illustrations – and they are not the first nor the last. Ordinary citizens armed with a desire for freedom and justice, cell phones, and access to the internet generated twitter revolutions that dethroned entrenched power (Egypt, Tunisia), put nervous leaders on alert (Jordan, Saudi Arabia), and made scared despots sink to the lowest levels (Libya). Organizational hierarchies, look out.
- 6. A rise in entrepreneurship. Kauffman Foundation research found new business startups at record levels in 2009 and remaining there today with an average of 565,000 new businesses formed every month in the U.S. The trend involves men and women, older and young, urban and rural, domestic and global, large and small enterprises. New competition is right around the corner.
- 7. The empowerment of women. Women are the majority in U.S. colleges, universities, graduate, and professional programs – and that trend grows worldwide. They are securing a voice and a vote in places where that has not always been the case. They are creative entrepreneurs with a responsible heart, as micro-financing stats demonstrate. They live – and shop – their values.
- 8. A new career ethic. Gen X and Y want advancement, learning, and challenge – and will jump ship to get it. Second career folks seek opportunities for contribution and significance. Women look for balance. We’d all better be looking at new ways to retain and train a productive workforce.
- 9. Shared knowledge and collaborative markets. Open sourcing is no longer only for hipsters and geeks, and crowdsourcing is a viable business model taught at Harvard and MIT. Younger generations like to connect and share all with the world: they’ll want to do business that way, too.
- 10. The growth in online retail. The stats are rising. Options are multiplying. Even the fearful are dipping a toe in the water. I just bought a travel blazer for my China trip while writing this post!