Lead from (the Present and) the Future

by Daniel Oliveira, CII

COVID-19 has forced companies to adapt quickly and some COVID-related changes will certainly affect organizations permanently. Although this current situation requires planning for the present, in this HBR podcast, Mark Johnson argues that leaders should allocate time to think beyond the present and develop a vision for the next 5-10 years. He challenges leaders to dedicate 10-20% of their time to think about this vision – and define not only how to play in a certain game, but rather envision what game they should be playing in 5-10 years. The podcast mentions several interesting examples that helped me to think about this, especially these two:  

  • How Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen division (their pharmaceutical division) created a vision beyond the business of fixing or treating diseases by looking to intercept and prevent disease – taking advantage of a convergence of trends in life sciences with biomedical devices. 

  • How Steve Jobs, in the middle of the first decade of the 21st Century, during the dot-com crash, took his top 100 lieutenants and they looked out 10 years to 2010 to create a vision beyond the personal computer. 

To face the present challenges imposed by COVID-19, CII has broadcast several excellent webinars with the goal of helping companies through the pandemic. You can find recordings in CII's blog.

In addition to providing resources to address the current crisis, CII also offers resources that can help members develop a vision for their organizations. In the last couple of years, the Institute has diversified its research portfolio to address both present and future challenges. Here are some ongoing initiatives that can help with crafting a vision for the future:   

  • Technology Path for the Future. Stay tuned for this breakthrough initiative (coming this summer) that will set a vision for innovation by the year 2050. 

  • The Workforce of 2030 research program. Two CII research teams are working on a vision for the workforce of the future: RT-370 and RT-371

  • One new project will investigate how to cultivate change and create agile, adaptable organizations. Keep an eye out for RT-381.

  • Another new project will investigate business opportunities and models related to the circular economy. Watch for RT-380. 

These CII initiatives can help you develop the resources to work on a vision for the future of your organization. You can contact me at daniel.oliveira@cii.utexas.edu with any questions you have about engagement opportunities for this year. Note that participation in CII research is restricted to member organizations – consult this member list

Good luck crafting your vision! 


Date posted: May 28, 2020