Surviving The Coming Wave

Everything you need to survive 2024

John Caswell
Just Thinking
6 min readDec 3, 2023


I can’t remember a time more comprehensively incomprehensible than this. And as the Bachman Turner Overdrive famously said in 1974 — ‘You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.’

Now and then, I get to reflect on the lessons I learn. Eventually, after regularly repeating themselves, a few become ‘truths.’ They’re simple sentences, but they’re not simple ideas.


Change is inevitable.

Change causes us to change — or we get left behind. The most successful approach to change is to make the highest quality decisions based on the broadest context. The sum of our choices is the ‘strategy.

Progression is a choice.

The ingredients of progress laid out over time is the plan. Given the exponential pace of change, we must redefine what a plan means. Plans are fluid, not fixed things impervious to change. Plans need to be made with the mindset of adaptation and reinvention.

We’ve reached a significant moment. From here on, passengers will not be allowed. I’m not expressly describing AI when I say that, but there’s no question it’s a significant catalyst for where the world goes next.

Progression demands obsession.

Life is a journey, and only if you fall in love with the journey and be in love with it forever will you stay the course.

Perpetual adaptation — the only mindset you need.

Yesterday’s leadership mindset is killing your company today.

Focus on Distraction.

Choose your distractions wisely — and then avoid them.

A vision is not optional — but without one, you will be.

Build the beacon for change — inspirational, tangible, actionable.

The rarest mineral* is attention.

Gaining attention is a mystery solved through mastery.

Apply Creativity. Problem Solved

The tool we already have. It supersedes all other tools if only you can keep it sharp.

Curiosity. Nurture it.

Being interested is the heartbeat of strategy.

If you wait for the coming wave to break — then you will.

Utilize the new tools before they euthanize you.

*A mineral is a naturally occurring inorganic substance with a definite chemical composition and ordered atomic structure.

As change becomes a reality, readiness becomes wisdom.

The ultimate strategy is to be prepared for anything.

Avoid solving the wrong problems really well.

When all things are considered, you can.

Table stakes got us this far.

Leadership in any field has taken us on an incredible journey. Starting to value storytelling as much as a spreadsheet. Promoting diversity because we recognise creativity. Being objective and analytical enough to make high-quality decisions and going beyond active listening to actual hearing. But it’s nowhere near enough to get us through what’s coming next.

The Capabilities We Need Now

ONE: Seeing

Noticing what others aren’t. Alert to the stimulus that’s circling the world.

TWO: Disconnecting

Cutting the umbilical cord of the past — the influence of loud or patronizing minorities.

THREE: Contemplating

The scanning, reflection, comparison and editing of context — undeterred by expectation or instruction.

FOUR: Thinking

The only capability you need to fix anything.

FIVE: Visualizing

Giving others the power to see what they think — realizing destinies.

SIX: Designing

Organizing the sum of the choices needed — because design is everything.

SEVEN: Humanizing

The prioritization of human connection and contribution — the essential currency of this digital economy.

EIGHT: Translating

Assessing what’s important and passing the worth of it on to others.

The Table Stakes

As we enter 2024, these are the fundamentals—the table stakes for survival. It is not an exhaustive list but the ones that repeatedly find their way into every assignment, conversation and recommendation I make to help others make progress.


Our ability to be a true collaborator. One who understands the importance of integrity and trust as the bedrock of partnership. Someone who is determined to build relationships based on mutuality. The ability and willingness to share resources and work jointly on solutions, recognizing that complex challenges require goodwill, cooperative strategies and a unified approach.


The skill required to fashion something from the situation at hand. The shipper. The proactive ingenuity to create tangible products or solutions. We thrive on turning ideas into reality, adapting our creations to meet evolving market demands and technological advancements and ensuring relevance and effectiveness in this unfathomable and dynamic world.


The objective impartial but empathetic inquisitor. A role that hinges on progression. Fostering confidence in others through continuous learning and a growth mindset. Facilitators guide discussions, encourage idea-sharing, and ensure diverse perspectives are heard, helping teams navigate complexities and fostering an environment where adaptive learning and collaborative problem-solving flourish.

Decision Maker:

Getting inside all the insight, context, and data so as to fuel strategic foresight and planning. A decision is an irrevocable allocation of resources, and making informed choices that consider multiple potential futures is the antidote to stupidity. Decision makers assess trends, anticipate changes, and make calculated decisions that steer organizations through uncertain times, balancing risk with opportunity and not solving the wrong problems really well.


Going beyond the listening and into the hearing. A crucial role in emotional intelligence involves understanding and empathizing with others. Empathising the greatest trust, trust creates belief and with belief comes movement and success. Good listeners are integral to navigating complex social dynamics, gathering insights, and maintaining team morale and productivity in challenging times.


The skill that can articulate dreams, tell stories, and create engagement and attraction. The only way to translate ideas, strategies, and visions clearly and compellingly. In a digitally transforming world, writers play a crucial role in overcoming the gap between a great product and the graveyard it will be buried in without communication. Writers document processes, share knowledge, and craft messages that resonate with diverse audiences internally and externally.


The conceptual side of our imagination and the manifestation of the dreamer in us. Creators are problem solvers, visionaries and idea generators who envision new possibilities and pathways. Innovators are the ingenious alchemists — making fresh things from other things often overlooked by others. Creators are adept at solutions, filling gaps, and imagining and designing novel concepts, services, or business models that respond to emerging trends and shifting paradigms.


The embodiment of agility and the definition of the action-oriented mindset. Doers are focused on getting it done — executing plans and strategies effectively. They are adaptable, quick to respond, and skilled at implementing changes and solutions in real-time, ensuring that the organization plans for the future and acts decisively in the present.

Each role, with its unique focus and approach, still very much contributes to the overall resilience, adaptability, and progress of a business in a complex and ever-changing world.



John Caswell
Just Thinking

I'm John Caswell - The founder and CEO of Group Partners. We Help Clients Make Strategies That Work. I’m The Head Of Crayons.