How does your life story fit with your work? That question stuck with me after reading Bob Johansen’s “Get There Early.” This 2007 book is a quite useful futures book, but I’d like to focus on his provocative question here. It seems particularly appropriate at New Year’s, with its promise of starting over with a clean slate.
I told a version of how my story fits with my work in my “Futurists Journey” TED talk a few years ago. As I reflect on my story and my work in 2017, I suppose the most significant change I would like to make came from a leadership training program I went through last year – we talked about “Impact per Engagement” as a way to help prioritize what to do….and not to do. I found myself more over-subscribed than usual this Fall (over-subscribed is part of the deal), but there are limits for even the most fanatical among us! But how to say no! Always so difficult. Thus, impact per engagement. When our schedules are so full, it is fair to assess how accepting or pursuing one activity compares to other options. Which has the largest overall impact aligned to my purpose of spreading high-quality work?
When I’m asking about changes in foresight and the work of futurists, I usually mention a growing emphasis on “know yourself and know your audience” as high on the list. We have trended away from being [allegedly] objective data analysts to providing more qualitative and deeper insight. As we get deeper (moving down the CLA layers or the presencing U) we need to be more aware of our own depth and that of our clients.
My anecdotal sense from chatting with students and those considering becoming students it that purpose is key. I have yet to hear some interested in becoming rich and a futurist. We do hear a lot of concern about being able to make a living. But it really comes through as having enough money to do the work.
What’s your story, and how does it fit with your work? A question to ponder as we begin 2017. — Andy Hines