Are You Ready for the Future?

What can you do to prepare yourself for the VUCA world of the future? VUCA stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous.

Bob Johansen, a long-time futurist, former president of the Institute for the Future (IFTF) and author, insists that forecasts and predictions are not immutable outcomes. He insists that leaders — if they have the right skills — can make the future.

In the extensively updated edition of Leaders Make the Future: Ten New Leadership Skills for an Uncertain World, Johansen describes the forces that IFTF says will shape the world in the next 10 years. He argues that leaders will need new skills to manage those forces. The final chapter is devoted to the individual leader who asks, what can I do to develop my future leadership skills? Here’s a short version of Johansen’s recommendations:

  1. Rate your readiness. How ready are you to lead in a future that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous? What future trends can you relate to now? What seems entirely foreign? How could you start to learn the 10 future leadership skills? What do you need to better understand, learn and practice? Johansen includes questions for reflection as well as a simple self-assessment (co-created with CCL’s Sylvester Taylor) in the book. An online version of the assessment is available from the publisher, complete with results graphs, interpretation and follow-up questions to consider based on your scores.
  2. Immerse yourself in the future. Preparing for the future requires immersive learning experiences. This gives you the chance to operate in situations that don’t fully make sense and in which old models, behaviors or skills aren’t enough to succeed. You’ll want to seek out experiences that place you in unfamiliar, often uncomfortable, situations — and that push you to learn something that you have identified as necessary to face the future. Use a learner’s mindset to get the most out of these experiences.
  3. Reflect back on your own leadership journey. Even as you look forward, Johansen advocates looking back at your life. What experiences and choices have influenced your leadership ability and style? What from your background could you revisit or bring forward to address the future? Perhaps you tried something that failed, but might work now. Or a long-forgotten past experience or connection may offer insight into future directions for you or your organization.
  4. Return to the present. You will gain great insight and develop new skills by immersing yourself in the future. Wisdom comes from where you have been in the past. But you must return to the present. Take what you have learned, says Johansen, and apply it today to make a better future.


Leaders will make the future, but they won’t make it all at once and they can’t make it alone. This will be a make-it-ourselves future.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright
comment_post_ID); ?> "While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
— Ken

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