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Video of keynote at Google travel industry event - structure around Futurewise - Six Faces of Global Change - see below.

"Either we take hold of the future or the future will take hold of us"

Large corporations face a complex range of urgent issues in the first decades of the third millennium. They can be described under six headings, or faces of a cube, spelling the word FUTURE.

Fast: Speed of change , economic, social, technology or political.  Market research can’t predict the future reliably in a rapidly changing world – it just tells you what consumers think now. We need big vision to see further. The digital society, social networking, mobile-commerce. Death of traditional markets, transformation of financial services. Revolution in manufacturing, distribution and every aspect of management. How will people survive accelerating change?

Urban: Big demographic and social shifts affecting every aspect of consumer behavior, ageing but wealthy populations. The war for talent, feminisation of society, megacities and a host of other factors will also have an important effect on the markets for your products. The challenge of megacities in emerging economies. These society changes are fundamental to the future shape of your business.

Tribal: Although the world is increasingly globalised, tribalism is the most powerful force on earth. More powerful than atomic bombs or the combined might of the US and Chinese military. We see it around the world in 100s of tribal conflicts and tensions. Tribalism is also an huge positive force. It affects you through niche branding and product loyalty. Every successful product creates a tribe and every successful organisation is one. Tribalism can be harnessed to build strong teams, corporate identity, people movements and product lines. The key to mergers is understanding tribal culture and tribal leadership.

Universal: the emergence of the global super-brand and huge pressures to manage global operations more effectively, using new technologies, emergence of virtual teams and companies. Daylight is the biggest barrier to the global village. Globalisation will alter the shape of all large corporations as competitors realign through rapid mergers, acquisitions, disposals or new partnerships. However reactions to globalisation in its current form need to be understood. Why powerful global structures will emerge and how they will affect your future.

Radical: With the death of left / right politics and weakening of government power, corporations are increasingly vulnerable to a growing number of single issue groups. Examples include the war against terrorism, the genetic engineering and biotech foods, animal welfare, body care product testing, child labor in the textiles industry, fair coffee.  But the greatest issue of all is sustainability.

Ethical: Personal values, ethics, motivation, spirituality - all these are becoming key issues in large corporations. Retaining and motivating key executives means more than money. How to inspire and encourage. Building a sense of family. Building a better world. What is coming next? Where do corporate values come from? A new world order. Global ethics. This is the most important Face and the one that is becoming central in board discussions of future direction. Personal motivation has changed greatly in the last five years and will continue to do so. The key is being able to show how your products and services create a better kind of world, not only for individual people and their families, but also for the community and for the whole of humanity.

Most senior executives see the world as Fast, Urban and Universal – but how many people in a nation need to be very Radical, Ethical and Tribal to change your world? Most Fortune 500 CEOs and Chairmen say 0.5-2%. And just one shareholder on a mission to change a corporation can be enough to keep a CEO awake at night before an AGM. You can’t keep all the faces in view at once so… keep turning the cube.

Leadership in the Third Millennium - in conclusion...

  1. Leadership is everything
  2. Preparing for the unexpected
  3. Faster reaction times
  4. Flatter structures
  5. Teams and partners
  6. Investing in people
  7. Visionary technology
  8. Sensitive to culture
  9. Creating family
  10. Providing purpose and meaning

More:  How great conference speakers can transform your business - and make or break your career if you are an event organiser.  Secrets of all great conference speakers.


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