It is true that the future starts now. No matter how daunting your end goals may seem, there are always steps you can take today in order to prepare for and even shape tomorrow. This sentiment rang loud and clear at PPC’s recent Spring Meeting in Miami. After hearing from a futurologist, a generational expert, and an economist, PPC members left the conference with a formula for succeeding in the days ahead.
Look for Secrets
Magnus Lindkvist, futurologist, trendspotter, and author gave attendees an eye-opening account of just how the future begins. It does not, he noted, begin with “horizontal” change in which the same thing starts happening in more places (e.g. many of the world’s city skylines look exactly the same). Rather, we can spark the future through “vertical” change in which something previously impossible becomes a reality. To do this, one must turn to the world of secrets for clues and ideas; after all, once something becomes a trend, it is already well known. After finding an idea, individuals and companies must experiment, learn from failure, and remain patient.
Adjust for Generations
In order to thrive in the future, executives must understand the workforce of the future. During the meeting, generational expert Phil Gwoke addressed a key demographic shift, occurring now, that will have major consequences for organizations everywhere: the growing population of Millennials (those born between 1980 – 1995) will comprise half of the American workforce by 2020 and 75% of the global workforce by 2025. To prepare for a Millennial-driven workplace, Gwoke suggested that business leaders make sure organizational cultures and processes are aligned with this age group’s values, namely customization, collaboration, choice, integrity, innovation, and efficiency. For example, Millennials prefer feedback with a roadmap for improvement. Also, as a supervisor you should listen, but you should also coach Millennials on how to be heard.
Prepare for Growth
While China, oil prices, and stock market volatility have left many business leaders off balance as of late, better days are ahead. At Spring Meeting, economist and President of ITR Economics Alan Beaulieu painted a bright picture of future economic growth fueled by consumer spending. To make the most of the upcoming period of prosperity, Beaulieu suggested that packaging execs create topnotch training and retention programs, hire sales people and leaders, drive efficiencies with technology, lock in costs in early 2016, and plan for higher wages and energy costs.
The path to the future doesn’t have to be complex. Simply by searching for new ideas and concepts, paying attention to the needs of the changing workforce, and preparing for economic growth, you can begin to make the future you want to see. Want even more insights into business and the future? Join us at our next conference, October 26-28 in San Antonio, TX.