Just Thinking
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Just Thinking

The New Human Race

Wake TFU

Let’s get straight to it.

We used to define the future in units of 5, 10 – maybe even 50 years. Science fiction painted us the pictures.

Now it’s possible to achieve almost anything we like in weeks or months if we put our minds to it. If you are awake then you are already putting your mind to it. If you are awake you are only limited by imagination.

The Race

The business world is racing to create new/better services at less cost and increased utility. Currently this involves returning sufficient value (margins) to the shareholders. Increasingly we hope it means reducing environmental impact and being sustainable in every sense.

The overwhelming majority of us are not awake to the degree of change that’s coming. For many of us it’s possible the near future will deal us a crushing blow. Work, lifestyle, opportunity, motivation is likely to change beyond recognition.

Will we be capable? Will we be awake?

How Do You Score?

The WAKE TFU Playbook

  • Think – The awake listen, (really consider the discussions they are in) and think. They do this to avoid the familiar blurting of horse shit and cliché.
  • Open – The awake are thoughtful, respectful, open to fresh/different thinking and they actually give a damn about what they hear.
  • Confident – They aren’t always approachable. They will defend their positions and their evidence. But they will shift if the case stands up.
  • Purposeful – They have a purpose in their lives. This can make them isolated at times. They are also. obsessive, passionate and responsible for their purpose.
  • Real – They eschew the claptrap and. bollocks of celebrity for its own sake.
  • Urbane – They don’t pour scorn on literally everything which is the vogue for so many people today. They don’t have to always need to be right.
  • Generous – They tend to give (to others) a lot more than they take.
  • Prepared – They are as ready for an uncertain future as possible.
  • Dexterous – They can handle more than one thought, idea, perspective or concept at once.
  • Dispassionate – They look honestly and objectively at their world. And they are perpetually revisiting that perspective.
  • Honest – They don’t lie to themselves. They face facts. They know that knowledge can be (dangerously) wrong.
  • Curious – They are curious and aware at the same time. Looking forward to what’s to come with only a pragmatic romanticism for what’s past.
  • Mature – They are comfortable sharing their emotions – their thoughts and their feelings.
  • Progressive – They don’t subscribe to the outdated norms and attitudes of society.

Here’s The Thing

We know there’s two things required in getting any job done. The capability and the tools. In the future these two change unrecognisably.

If you aren’t scoring high on the playbook it will be a tough journey. Three things:

  1. Technology continues to engineer miracles – at pace.
  2. Technology will replace a lot of human tasks. The rate of this change is exponential.
  3. Human capability has to completely transform to keep up.

The capability required to take advantage of this fact is not readily within us. We are mostly ill-prepared.

The Future – It’s A Choice

Nobody can predict the future but we can interpret the trends. Autonomous everything, digital processes that remove entire workforces, the diamonds that exist in the data, the endless acronyms and labels that come and go – 4IR, IoT, bioengineering, artificial intelligence, virtualized service and experience.

There’s opportunity there.

Whatever happens, everything is guaranteed to be uncertain. And humans have an important choice to make – and we have to make it right now.

  1. Don’t Wake TFU – Sit back, accept what befalls us – watch what happens.
  2. Wake TFU – Be awake, involved, engaged and prepared to take advantage – come what may.

This choice either scares you to death, leaves you cold or inspires you enormously. For the average person keeping up will be the challenge. The above average will demand to be involved and win.

Exploiting Technology Before It Exploits Us

It’s no picnic being in business.

Leading your firm is tough already. Without the means of mastering the new dynamics we have to imagine it will only get tougher. However, in theory, and as these technologies improve, so do the tools we have to manage them.

The Race For The New Humans

This represents a new set of challenges for us humans to overcome.

We’ve become entitled. We’ve never liked change. We blindly expect things to carry on pretty much as they were. We will tinker with things because we’ve seen that wholesale change is bloody painful. We probably add to the problems.

We have small attention spans and large piles of information. This does not bode well for the future.

The future will demand a big step up. But not by making improvements to how we operate things today. It’s easy to see that a large part of what we do today is going to be handled by machines and digital systems.

Imagine the next 10 years. We had better get damned good at what we will do then.

The Future Bio/CV:

Master Of Uncertainty – What you will need to be when all decisions are uncertain. Your capability will be to wrestle the subtle, nuanced and brand new rather than clear cut and somewhat familiar. Oh, and it’s all data.

Master Of Leverage – How you will apply yourself hourly/daily and possibly globally to leveraging new technologies and skills because they are increasingly doing everything you need doing.

Director Of Creativity – Because you will have trained yourself to be more creative with powerful tools or can find and leverage the resources.

Business Model Supremo – You have had to think critically about the models and more hybrid integrations available. You have determined which models will be most valuable in the near future? You will be ready and able to deal with entirely original combinations of opportunity. You know they will only last for short periods. You will know when to go again.

Business Systems Leadership – You know why and which systems to trust. You accept that the systems and machinery know you and your business better than you ‘know’ yourself/your business. But you know how to turn that to your advantage.

The Intelligent Connector – You are the consummate collaborator, connector and communicator. That’s the biggest set of weapons you have alongside all of the above.

In Summary – Words Have Failed Me

I discuss this topic with people all the time. Most will agree that right now feels a momentous time.

The best strategy for business is one of preparedness. Most will agree – but are unsure what that means.

It doesn’t take much to convince people that we need systemic and behavioural change. And, whilst they agree the idea that they can do anything about it fizzles out quickly as the reality settles.

Most of all I’ve noticed that the language we’re using isn’t working. Yes, the ideas are reasonable (we need strategies, plans, new models and frameworks) but these ideas just sugar the pill.

I have been guilty of calling ‘being awake’ consciousness – sometimes even enlightenment. What was I thinking? Why on earth did I think that would resonate with anyone? Why did I assume everyone is?

The reason there isn’t more consciousness or enlightenment around is because these words have the power to send people to sleep.

We just need to wake the fuck up.



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John Caswell

John Caswell

Group Partners Help Clients Make Strategies That Work. I’m The Head Of Crayons.