Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead

Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead

Rob-Jan de Jong

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 0814449077

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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.

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present, 33–34 personal anecdote, see stories personal vision, 13–15 vs. company vision, 14–15 persuasion, 25, 152 pictorial language, 213 Picture is worth a thousand words practice, 213, 241 point of no return, 86 point of surprise, 85–86, 88 Polak, Fred, 13 The Image of the Future, 34–35, 213 political arguments, xi Polman, Paul, 8, 10 positive attitude, 156, 201 The Power of the 2x2 Matrix (Lowy and Hood), 247n Powerful questions practice, 192–193 practices, xviii, 237–242

options do we have in each story? What strategic contingencies should we anticipate? How will we respond if this scenario were to emerge? How can we best prepare and anticipate this scenario? The former head of Shell’s strategic planning group, Arie de Geus, a scenario-planning veteran and scholar, calls the exercise “creating a memory of the future,” a wonderful phrase that alludes to the essence of the exercise: creating mental preparedness by anticipating multiple relevant futures. He asserts

you get involved in a large deal or some other project. Your blind spots, your inherent irrationality, and your overconfidence prevent you from making sound decisions. It’s only at the start of such a process that you can clearly and rationally take a step back and develop a series of future outlooks, connecting the dots to other futures than the one you are hoping for, so that you can see what else might happen. This is also the time to heed early-warning signals and develop contingency plans

should not take you more than two weeks of practice to make this saying a habit. Remember, just one word can make a huge difference. 2. Break the pattern. A deceptively simple practice to increase your chances of seeing things differently is to deliberately break your normal pattern of working, communicating, thinking, reacting, and responding. For example, if you are normally the first to volunteer, hold back. Or if you are always the one who holds back, now volunteer. If you’re very punctual,

a vision. I’ve heard everything from “Finally, we’re talking about what’s really important,” to “Oh please! Not another hazy discussion on that abstract notion that won’t help me deliver results.” What I’ve learned from these debates is that the Vision Thing intrigues and frustrates at the same time. We look up to people and companies that seemed to have mastered it, but feel thwarted in achieving similar results. Most people agree that, when understood and practiced well, vision can be an

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