A Future-Ready Mindset Helps Stave Off Disruption

All the jargons in the world can have you reeling in confusion. But one can’t deny how jargon helps us to structure our thoughts, especially when it helps us think outside the box, so to speak. They do serve a purpose. They can be effective signposts, helping make a point stick. Being future-ready mindset is one such jargon, even if it sounds too hokey for comfort. Being future-ready helps us be agile and flexible.

As People Matters  puts it, it’s about having a future-fluent culture for a company or a future-fluent way of thinking, for individuals. Getting the message across can help stave off some inevitable realizations. To stress, “Leaders should be able to anticipate, embrace, and accept that today’s skills will be obsolete and that they must continuously search for the best way of doing things in the future.”

What is agility if not the capability to be flexible and adjust to the tides of change, and turn them into an advantage? It adds up to say future fluency goes further. It means studying and anticipating the changes that are to come. Agility can mean the uncanny ability to cope with present challenges, even if it means radical transformation.

Future fluency means having the foresight and the pragmatism to anticipate and work with the inevitable changes that will happen in the economy, employment, and education. Here’s a simple age-old explanation: a media outfit that cuts its print division to invest in online platforms just as social media is picking up is an agile organization.

It helps to be on one’s toes just in case another disruption happens and social media disrupts online publications, as it has in the United States where the results of such a disruption can cause massive layoffs or operations shutting down. This may not be the case in other countries, of course.

Here’s the difference when it comes to the bottom line: an agile organization may increase its chances of survival as technology disrupts its industry, as the NY Times makes use of a paywall for its content. A future-fluent one can help a company thrive amid this supposed chaos and profit from it to emerge as an innovation leader.

How does one then form a future-fluent mindset? The leader must be willing to sacrifice their sacred cows at the altar. That means they must look at the numbers and the changing landscape, and accept that certain currently prized skills, structures, industries, and even lifestyles will no longer be relevant in the future.

That alone takes courage and an honest self-examination because the result can lead to more disruptive but necessary actions.

For example, the global mobility manager who has created an extensive network among traditional expatriates who stay in their cities of employment for years must recognize that they must build a new one: this time, of millennials who prefer only a two-year contract at the most and want to keep jumping from city to city.

The manager has no option but to stretch their wings if they are to keep their talent database updated and growing.

The second is to keep on doing their homework. This goes beyond sniffing the news or taking notes of trends. It means asking hard questions like where will this particular global mobility trend is leading to? It means venturing beyond the usual answers that turn up in a search, and coming to terms with forecasts that may be uncomfortable.

For example, in Mercer’s list of the top dilemmas that are facing global mobility managers, the need for greater diversity might be familiar and can be planned for, but the possible evolution of assignees into gig talents might just be upsetting to carefully laid-out programs and policies.

Still, the onus is to study the trend, no matter how unwelcome, and see how one can prepare for it. Finally, it means constant networking with sources of information well outside one’s comfort zone.

The global mobility manager who spends time with their VIPs can spot far-reaching changes that will impact their field just while they are just blips on the radar.

For example, university heads might have to share the sudden rising success (or failure) of their graduates in Silicon Valley tech companies, or the growth of foreign nationals from one country as compared to another.

Studies and the the constant flow of information should help give global mobility managers a bigger picture — one that can show them a preview of the future they must prepare for and respond to.