I’d like to thank Virginia Hicks of Comma Partners for inviting me to a fascinating networking event last week entitled Seeing Around Corners – Tooling up for the Future. The session was led by futurist and CEO of Fast Future – Rohit Talwar who presented, at breakneck speed and with a multitude of illustrations from businesses across the world, the emerging trends, forces and ideas shaping the future of the business world, and the challenges and opportunities they present for us – the audience of internal communicators and change agents.
More than half of Rohit’s session focused on what he referred to as “The 8 Characteristics of Success” – the 8 areas of business management where business will need to excel if they are to succeed in what Rohit refers to as “the new turbulent era”. These 8 characteristics he defined using his 8Ms mnemonic:
Of the many themes that had captured my imagination, I particularly empathised with his themes under Management:
Rohit’s first characteristic of success for Management was that business leaders, in particular, needed to make time and space for change. One suggestion for achieving this Nirvana (literal translation – state of liberation) that really resonated with me was to experiment with replacing our “To do Lists” with “To Stop Lists”.
Most of us will have experienced the frustration of being unable to progress our own goals and priorities because we cannot get the necessary feedback / endorsements from senior decision-makers. The truth is that the non-stop focus on profits and productivity is putting pressure on resources at all levels in an organisation. Most of us are over-committed every day, even before we arrive at our desk, and the deliverables of communication functions can, all too easily, be de-prioritised – when the urgent crowds out the important.
I love my To Do Lists. I love the sense of progress and achievement I get from crossing off items, no matter how trivial. And that’s the problem. Most To Do Lists are created to ensure that we don’t forget any of the multitude of tasks required from us, but there is usually no reference to the value / time / effort equation; the act of completion is, in itself, sufficient.
I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve seen (even used) the phrase “….we are experiencing a time of unprecedented change…..”. Rohit’s presentation indicated that there’s unlikely to be any slackening of pace or increased stability in the foreseeable future so the only way to stay on top of the pace of change is to look at how we can do things differently, and making our own “To Stop Lists” seems like a good place to start.