Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead
Rob-Jan de Jong
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Business schools, leadership gurus, and strategy guides agree--leaders must have a vision. But the sad truth is that most don't...or at least not one that compels, inspires, and energizes their people. How can something so essential be practiced so little in real life? Vision may sound like a rare quality, unattainable by all except a select few--but nothing could be further from the truth. Anyone can expand their visionary capacity. You just need to learn how. In "Anticipate," strategy and leadership expert Rob-Jan de Jong explains that to develop vision you must sharpen two key skills. The first is the ability to see things early--spotting the first hints of change on the horizon. The second is the power to connect the dots--turning those clues into a gripping story about the future of your organization and industry. Packed with stories and practices, "Anticipate" provides proven techniques for looking ahead and exploring many plausible futures--including the author's trademarked FuturePriming process, which helps distinguish signal from noise. You will discover how to: Tap into your imagination and open yourself to the unconventional - Become better at seeing things early - Frame the big-picture view that provides direction for the future - Communicate your vision in a way that engages others and provokes action - And more When you anticipate change before your competitors, you create enormous strategic advantage. That's what visionaries do...and now so can you.
initiative in the Netherlands, with over 15,000 participants in 2012. From an original 400,000 euros raised in 2006, the Alpe d’HuZes now raises more than 20 million euros annually. But despite its incredible success and glorious legacy, this community of cycling fanatics has faced—and continues to face—tragedy as well. Each year, several participants can no longer make the climb, losing or having lost their battle against cancer. One of them was Bas Mulder, an Alpe d’HuZes founder. He continued
lead to irresponsible big bets. Thus, these should not be considered qualities to strive for in developing your visionary side. Making big bets fits perfectly with the narcissistic leadership profile. Narcissists love gripping visions of radical change. However, as Maccoby warns, the “tendency toward grandiosity is the Achilles’ heel of narcissists.” History has taught us that over time, narcissists tend to alienate themselves from reality and start overestimating their abilities. Their
point of no return. Impact is inevitable; whatever you do from this point onward is of little use. It’s only in the period between the point of surprise and the point of no return that you can deal with the changed reality. To further our car crash metaphor, this is why you want the interval between the two moments to be as wide as possible: It gives you the most time to react and prevent the crash. Since the point of no return is outside your control, the only way to maximize this interval is by
away. Better ones will emerge, without doubt. If your FutureFacts don’t adhere to the rules, your results will suffer. If they lack juice, they’re probably too conventional. If they’re too dubious, your credibility will suffer. They want the aha! factor. But getting to that provocative zone is not easy and needs work to perfect. Otherwise you’ll eventually lose interest since you will lose sight of the value. With practice and a critical eye, though, you’ll notice improvement and soon have a
published in the seventies, John D. Rockefeller observed that “an organization is a system, with logic of its own, and all the weight of tradition and inertia. The deck is stacked in favor of the tried and proven way of doing things and against the taking of risks and striking out in new directions.”10 Overcoming mindlessness and pursuing behavioral mindfulness is therefore a vital step in working on our visionary selves, and mindfulness is one of the true traits of great leadership.