Archive for the 'Future' Category

My FORBES interview on leadership, conversation, and dynamic companies

Many of you know that I have invested a lot of time and thought into my recent book, Create New Futures: How Leaders Produce Breakthroughs and Transform the World Through Conversation. This book distills many of my hard won lessons in leadership, business, and relationships into what I hope is an engaging read.

While I have not seen the need for a much hyped book tour (I jest, of course), I did send the book to a few media outlets for their review, and I am pleased with the write up this work received in FORBES this week. If you care to learn a little more about it, you can find the article at this link:

© Aviv Shahar

The Global Business Context: A Davos CEO Panel

Here are key themes from the Davos panel about the strategic, organizational and operational issues that are reshaping how businesses operate worldwide. The CEOs on the panel included:
• John T. Chambers, Cisco
• Thomas Enders, Airbus
• Klaus Kleinfeld, Alcoa
• Duncan Niederauer, NYSE Euronext
• Ferit F. Sahenk, Dogus Group
• Patricia A. Woertz, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM)
• Hans-Paul Bürkner, The Boston Consulting Group


  • 24/7 mindset is yesterday. The volatility and velocity of change requires a 25/8 mindset.
  • We are going through rapid market transition, economic transition, and technological transition… the big question for organizations: how do we reinvent ourselves? Unless you can reinvent, you will have your “Kodak Moment” and die.
  • Deleveraging is here to stay. Together with higher capital requirement this chokes credit and makes for a tough environment for small and medium businesses.
  • You must build flexible organization with dynamic human capital.
  • We all want to live better and do better.
  • Think One World.
  • Think collective wisdom.
  • We are all watched in real time.
  • A quarter of global aircraft orders is for china.
  • Maintain a bifocal focus on short and long term. Be realistic about what is possible in the short term. But for the long term strategy you must plan for growth with two billion people entering global market and aspiring for urban life style. You cannot entrench and grow. Manage the short term with the long term in mind. Work on the long term by capitalizing on opportunities here and now. You must earn the right to grow.
  • The potential for upside breakout is in better collaboration between government and the private sector.
  • Most successful needs to give back most.
  • Execution is leadership.
  • The only sustainable competitive advantage is your people and having the brightest talent.

New Year. New Hope. New Action.

Hope springs eternal. It’s 1.1.11. I am looking at pictures from around the world. People in all places are celebrating their hopes for the New Year. The facial expressions in Sidney Australia, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, Tokyo Japan, Lahore Pakistan, Moscow Russia, Vilnius Lithuania, Warsaw Poland, Paris France and New York are the same. Hope. Exhilaration. Anticipation. A sense of new unknown possibility. The reflex and desire for a new beginning, a clean new start. It is as deeply engrained into us as breathing. It’s the soul and the spirit way of breathing. Urging each of us to begin again for a new start.

New hope calls for new action. Before the monotonous wheel of habitual living and expectations kicks in, you must embrace the new energy of possibility into new action. The law of three octaves says new outcomes and results are made possible by and through the alignment of three octaves. New hope by itself is not sufficient. New hope and intent is one octave. To create new results, the new intent needs to be accompanied by octave two – new knowhow, insights and strategy. The two (new hope and new insight) need to be applied in octave three – new environment, new technology, and a new set of opportunities.

What differentiates a new actuality from the exhilaration of a new hope is the alignment and flow of three connected octaves: Idea leading to a process that creates new actions and results. One day follows another. A new year follows the preceding one. Unless you align three octaves in a joint continuum of possibility the New Year may be just another day. The numbers, the dates, the astrological configuration may or may not be significant for you. The way we each apply ourselves in how we actualize the energy potential of hope and possibility is what creates significance.

I look at the pictures of hopeful people all around the world. It fills me with awe at the power of the human spirit and its desire for renewal and elevation. I then ask how much of this energy is directed to create new tomorrows. Into what opportunities and action will this energy be directed next week?

There are tremendous challenges on our collective global table and with them awesome and immense opportunities. People in Baghdad and Tehran, in Jerusalem and Madrid, in Athens and Taipei, Zimbabwe and Reykjavik Iceland, in Melbourne and Detroit all want to have a better life. They want to love and be loved. And they hope for a better life and opportunity for their children. They want to feel that their lives matter. That there is some meaning in their being here at this time and that they can influence and shape in some way the unfolding stories of their lives.

In growth, in business, in relationships and in geopolitics the law of three octaves differentiates which choices create new possibilities and manifest new tomorrows. Three ascendancies that will increasingly be expressed are: collaboration, innovation and purpose.

What are you doing today to create remarkable new possibilities and results? What three octaves are you bringing together to translate hopes into a process that creates dramatic new futures?

© Aviv Shahar

The 2020 Questions – Twenty Two Questions For A Threshold Decade

“What will this next decade be like?” We asked at a recent future-think-tank meeting. It quickly became clear we are looking at a Threshold Decade.

Why is the run up to 2020 a threshold decade? Our think-tank articulated key big questions that converge in an unprecedented way. Consider that during the coming decade, most of these will be addressed and possibly answered in one fashion or another:

  1. Energy – Are we on course to stop burning things to produce energy? Have we found elegant, ubiquitous and affordable energy-harvesting solutions (solar, ocean, algae, ammonia, thermal, wind, vibration and kinetic harvesting, and more)?
  2. Nuclear – Has a nuclear event (terrorist or state sponsored) been averted? Have we secured the world from nuclear weapons? Or are we back in a new, yet similar, mutually assured destruction balance-of-terror?
  3. Capitalism – Has Capitalism updated and renewed itself? Has it found a more sustainable and wiser path? Did market economy evolve to credibly embrace and benefit the other four Ps in addition to profit (People, Planet, Progress and Purpose)?
  4. China – What role has China taken on the world stage? How is the China experiment unfolding? Is the Party able to promote market economy and sustain its control?
  5. Middle Class – Has there been a resurgence of the Middle Class in the US and Europe? Is the Middle Class growing in China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Russia and other countries? This is likely to determine the stability of the democratic framework and how democracies evolve around the world.
  6. Currency – What is the new currency regime? Has it taken the form of a basket of currencies? Two or three universal currencies? A new dollar arrangement? Or a complete fragmentation of the system, leading to pockets of bartering economies?
  7. Islam – Are Moslem women enjoying freedom and equality? Has there been a credible moderate Islamic leadership that captured popularity and harnessed the hopes and aspirations of engagement and progress? Have younger generations chosen a moderate Islamic leadership or followed a militant path?
  8. Global Institutions – What forums serve efficaciously global and planetary needs? How effective is the China – America collaboration? How are the G2, G8, G20 and other global institutions producing results?
  9. Middle East – Has there been a Middle East resolution that gave hope to Israelis and Palestinians? Or are we entrenched in non-solutions and demographic impossibility?
  10. Health & Medicine – What is the evolving integral understanding of health? What are the new game-changers in medicine? How is personalized medicine evolving and is it delivering on its promise? What forms of integrated medicine are embraced and bring results?
  11. Obama – What has become the Obama legacy? Has he fulfilled or disappointed the young generation that brought him to the White House? How have the relationships of citizenry with the state changed, or not?
  12. Culture – How have culture and beliefs about life, wealth, wellness and what’s valued shifted and evolved, or not?
  13. Women – With the battle of the sexes over, have we moved to a new quality of leadership and creative collaboration between the genders? Have we transcended the gender equality battle and the love/hate syndrome that accompanied this struggle to mature negotiation, ready to explore anew the significance of the genders working in creative mutuality?
  14. Philosophy – What ideas and thinking can narrow the chasm between science and religion and offer relevant guidance to political and social debates? Are we able to hold a coherent integral conversation about the divisive issues of the day?
  15. Poverty – Is Muhammad Yunus’s vision of eliminating poverty (and creating a poverty museum) any closer? Can the planet’s resources support a continual population growth? Or is the trend reversed and the population is shrinking?
  16. Africa – Which countries in Africa were able to emerge and begin to escape the history of pillage and failure? What meaningful and hopeful game-changing breakthroughs are seen in Africa?
  17. Education – Modern education was first shaped by the industrial age and was then aligned to meet the technological age – what education templates best integrate and prepare the whole-person to realize their creative and spiritual potential in the age of transformation?
  18. Climate – What are the conditions at the poles? Is there global agreement about climate questions? Have there been definitive global policies enacted?
  19. Spirituality – What forms of spirituality answer the needs of the time and the calling of new generations? Are the impulses of self as source, universal consciousness and conscious evolution emerging and capturing mindshare, or not?
  20. Time – How are people using and applying increasing freedom and time? What are they doing on their fifth day?
  21. Galactic Life –How are we exploring anew nearby and distant space? Have we made contact with intelligent life outside our planet?
  22. You – How have you transformed your world?

© Aviv Shahar

The Future Is Not Reasonable

The future is not reasonable. How CAN it be?
Your reasons are based in what you know and what you understand. The future is not. What is emerging now is not just beyond your reason. It’s beyond reason. The age of reason is over. Sense-making can no longer be based on what you know. But what can it be based on?

In 2020 at least a fifth of the workforce will be engaged in jobs that do not exist today, addressing needs and problems not identified as yet and applying technologies that have not even been thought about yet. A sense-making function based on what you know is a dead-ender. You cannot expect to reason your way out of change, crisis or chaos. The future is unthinkable. It is unreasonable. And yes, it is unbelievable.

Problems and opportunities do not present themselves as givens. They show up from seemingly unconnected dynamics and from shape-shifting circumstances and puzzling, unrelated continuums. You cannot reason your way through a rapidly shape-shifting picture. You engage, you inquire to open doors to discover and to participate, learn, acquiesce and co-create.

Entitlement is a brick wall washed away by the flood of a new day. Yesterday’s rationale is not permission granting in a new now. What was is different. Your task is to find now, to discover how you are different in it.

The future is not reasonable. You cannot unlock it with history. You cannot manage it through pride. Change happens in the blink on an eye. It happens during sleep. You go to sleep in one world and wake up in another. The answer is not about never going to sleep. It is to be fully alert and engaged when you are awake. And then, it is to keep one eye or your mind’s eye open when you are asleep. Every day you wake up to a new and different world. Yesterday has no entitlement today. Today is not its continuation. It is not an overrun of yesterday. Today appears out from seemingly nowhere. It is a tomorrow that has been unveiled.

You become a shape-shifter inside a shape-shifting change, not to surrender your core but to become mutable and adaptive in your methods and ways. Your core values, capabilities, talent, passion and purpose are not invalid. They are more important than ever. They are your glue for tomorrow, your future bound viscosity. It’s the delivery system and engagement format that needs updating. Think RNA instead of DNA. As the world around you changes you need to RNA yourself anew inside it.

© Aviv Shahar

The Strategy Imperative

Rethink your mission and strategic objectives:
When the unthinkable is the new norm and the unpredictable is inevitable, the strategy imperative is not in discovering “how to respond” and “what to do”. It is in articulating what capabilities need to be developed to meet the uncertainties and requirements of these alternative futures.

© Aviv Shahar

A New Fifth Day

In 2020, about a quarter of the workforce in the Western world will be working a four day work week. Technological breakthroughs, automation, increased productivity and reset of societal values will accelerate the trend, which is already gaining momentum.

The important concept that will emerge in the new 2020 paradigm will be a New Fifth Day. After working for four days for your company, and before or after your two-day weekend, you will engage in the new Fifth Day. The Fifth Day will be your future focus day. Primary focus will be your continual education, development and growth. The other focus will be service to charity and causes you choose. Your week will include: four work days; a fifth day of learning, development and service; a sixth day of home care and maintenance, and the seventh day of rest, recreation and renewal.

Are you already enjoying a Fifth Day?
What will be your preferred focus on your Fifth Day?
How would you design your ideal Fifth Day?

© Aviv Shahar

The Future Is Here

Abraham Lincoln is known to have said that “the best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time.” That was true back then. Now, the future arrives one tsunami after another, continuously, without a pause.

You are immersed in the future now. Your job is more than just to cope with it. You are trying to decipher and understand it. You work to become a vessel for it; a tool, a conduit for its manifestation. The art of living is in co-creating the future as it arrives.

Leadership is about co-creating the future. In our Future Scenarios Workshop, leadership teams create plausible futures to evaluate opportunities, risks, impacts and uncertainties. We do not try to be predictive. Instead, we explore a range of plausible futures where we can facilitate the transition from coping with the future to co-creating it.

Here is a mindset to practice: The future is here. Your work is to attempt to decipher it. To optimize your responses. To develop today the capacities you will need tomorrow. To ease the future now.

© Aviv Shahar

Prepare For The Future – 10 Benefits

Anticipating the future has been a major preoccupation for people from the beginning of time. Creating scenarios as a way to anticipate the future has been popularized in recent decades. We engage in developing scenarios to increase awareness about possible outcomes and to understand the potential costs, benefits and consequences of any decision or action we may take.

In a business context, scenario-based planning is a creative, open-ended exploration of patterns that might emerge in your field. In our Future Scenarios Workshop we help executives anticipate and prepare for the future by exercising their ability to think about opportunities and challenges in context of what may happen in the next month, the next year, or in the longer term. It is a discovery process to help you evaluate uncertainties, triggers and the important forces that have the power to affect the future.

The value and benefits of developing your future scenarios for your organization are multiple:

1. You increase awareness to the range of plausible futures.
2. You challenge your assumptions.
3. You prepare and rehearse responses to specific scenarios.
4. You develop a framework for continued environmental scanning.
5. You create future options for your organization.
6. You identify specific decision points and triggers.
7. You cultivate in-depth understanding and insight about the inter-relationships of active forces in your eco-system.
8. You create a context with which to monitor and evaluate change.
9. You develop analytical tools to support strategic decisions.
10. You engage in a creative process that unleashes and forwards innovation.

© Aviv Shahar

Do You See Constellations Where Others See Stars – The Kaleidoscoping Art

Excerpt from the Fourth Emerald Key: Radical growth – the Learn-ability leverage
Kaleidoscoping is the practice and capacity to recognize relationships and patterns. You practice active inquiry that seeks to understand the core principles that are the basis of all systems. Kaleidoscoping is the ability to compare and correlate seemingly unrelated fields and apply concepts from one to the other. For example, using the terminology and anatomy of weather systems in organizational behavior and the season’s cycle in the market place.  You discover that building an investment and building trusting relationships are similar – they follow the same principle, both need ongoing deposits.  You observe the infrastructure and activity of a beehive to learn about promoting a culture of efficiency and excellence in execution. Kaleidoscoping is the practice of increasing your capacity to handle complexity, such as in the now 24/7 interconnectedness of the web 2.0 conversation. You kaleidoscope to discover meaning in new combinations and connections and learn to anticipate what is newly emerging. You connect the dots to see constellations where others see stars.

© Aviv Shahar

Next »

Web Site Implemented By CB Software Systems, Inc.