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Think Sharper Masterclass

One of the most commonly-quoted stories you’ll hear about disruption is about Kodak, which was the market leader in film photography, but failed because it couldn’t adapt to digital photography.

The first digital camera – built by a Kodak engineer – was as big as a toaster, took 20 seconds to take a picture, and the resolution was much lower than a print. Kodak’s management assessed it, but ignored it because they thought it would never be good enough to compete with film cameras. They didn’t account for exponential growth, which meant the improvements happened much faster than they expected. Their lack of foresight tarnished all their future decisions, which meant they were making progress, but not in the right direction.

Are you in the same situation?

Many organisations face a similar situation. They don’t make the right decisions now because they don’t know how. The world is changing so fast that it’s difficult to make strong, strategic long-term decisions. So many people default to making short-term decisions and setting small goals. But thinking too small is a recipe for disaster.

This has a devastating effect on teams, people, and the organisational culture. Some people are highly negative (disengaged), others are significantly positive (motivated “stars”), and you get the entire spectrum in between. If we plotted this on a graph, we would see different attitudes to change and decision-making:

What does it take to move your team “above the line”, so you’re all making sharper decisions, and faster?

The answer is foresight – the skill of looking ahead to the future (even an uncertain future), so you can make more reliable decisions. This is the missing element that holds people back from making better decisions.

This is not about predicting the future like a fortune teller or a lucky gambler. Rather, it’s about using the tools that futurists use to direct and drive your decisions.

That’s why I created the Think Sharper masterclass.

High performance in a fast-changing world needs four elements:

  1. Scan wide: Look for more opportunities and possibilities.
  2. Narrow down: Make smart decisions to choose the best available path.
  3. Dig deep: Set a plan and take action in a changing environment.
  4. Go far: Keep learning, re-learning, and un-learning as the world changes.

The Think Sharper masterclass teaches you how to think like a futurist, so you can apply foresight to your everyday decision-making and performance. You will build a habit of innovation and change in your team and organisation, so that innovation happens all the time and not just “when things quieten down” (which of course never happens!). Think healthy lifestyle, not crash diet.

Is this right for you?

This is for you if:

  • Your industry is changing fast, and you don’t know what’s around the corner
  • You don’t want to be caught napping when your business or industry is disrupted
  • You want to attract the best people – and keep the best people you have
  • You want to get your people out of their old ways of thinking
  • You don’t know how to get them thinking differently
  • You want to motivate your “star” employees

How does it work?

Every team and organisation is different, so I’ve designed the Think Sharper masterclass with a number of modules that we choose from, based on your team’s requirements and desired outcomes. We work together to design the best combination of modules to suit your team’s needs.

We can run this masterclass as a 90-minute intensive (ideal for a session in a conference program!), a half-day version that goes into more depth, or a full-day version that expands this even further.

These are the typical modules we choose from.

Open Up – Be a Possibility Thinker

The future belongs to possibility thinkers, who see opportunity where others see risk and threat, who embrace change rather than fearing it, and who act with confidence even in an uncertain world. Open up to new possibilities, so you can build on the past but reach for the future.

Key outcomes:

  • Understand what our “VUCA” world means for you and your business
  • Explore your future customer’s journey to identify risks and opportunities
  • Identify potential disruption points from inside and outside your industry

Step Up – Create Your Personal Brand

The best people aren’t afraid to stand for something that matters to them. Discover the six ingredients to build a powerful personal brand, so you become known for what you know.

Key outcomes:

  • Create your own clear, strong and flexible positioning statement
  • Learn how to share material strategically to build your credibility
  • Find collaboration opportunities that boost your personal brand

Think Like a Futurist – Find More Opportunities

When faced with an uncertain future with a bewildering range of possibilities, most people try to simplify their choices and think small. But that’s exactly the wrong solution! Instead, scan wider and look for more opportunities, knowing you can make smart decisions later about how to prioritise them.

Key outcomes:

  • Use an outside perspective to identify new opportunities
  • Apply new technology, trends and change to your strategy and activity
  • Generate innovative ideas using the skill of trandisciplinarity

Decide! Make Better Decisions, Faster

Most people judge their decisions based on hindsight because they think they don’t have enough information in advance to make good decisions. But hindsight is too late! The best teams use the benefit of foresight to make better decisions – and faster – even in an uncertain, ever-changing world.

Key outcomes:

  • Know how to filter out the hype in new technology and trends to focus on what really matters
  • Avoid the common trap of discarding good ideas too soon
  • Use futurist skills like scenario planning, PESTLE and the Delphi Method to make better decisions

There’s an I In Team – Keep The Best Talent

The best people want different things now, and many leaders don’t know what they are. So, the “stars” stay for a while, hoping to be attracted and inspired, but eventually get pulled by a stronger magnet and leave.

Key outcomes:

  • Learn what employees want now from the workplace (and how that has changed)
  • Get the most from the individual skills and talents of your team
  • Build their judgement, so you don’t have to rely on rules, authority and endless meetings

Customers On Your Side – Be a Customer-Centric Organisations

There’s a lot of talk about customer experience and being customer-centric, but the best way to be customer-centric is to bring your customers inside your business, and involve them in your internal processes.

Key outcomes:

  • Ask for feedback and use it in a constructive way
  • Use customer experience in the design of your products and services
  • Help customers help each other

Ask The World – Find Talent Everywhere

In our social, mobile, and highly-connected world, the best people to solve your problems might be beyond the four walls of your office and the narrow domain of your expertise. Reach out to a world that’s willing to help, and tap into endless talent, skills, and expertise.

Key outcomes:

  • Tap into our connected world to find experts anywhere
  • Create fluid teams with the best talent that come together for individual projects
  • Help your core team look further for expertise, talent and resources

Channelling Chaos – High Performance in a Fast, Flat and Free World

The old processes for strategy, goal-setting, and performance don’t work in our fast-changing world. Learn how high-performance teams thrive in chaos and work together to overcome obstacles so they still achieve their goals.

Key outcomes:

  • Learn the nine things successful people do differently now for high performance
  • Collaborate fast to get quick decisions without endless meetings or second-guessing outcomes
  • Create flexible plans that account for unexpected obstacles and challenges

Pull from the future, don’t push from the past.

The key difference when you start with foresight is that you start with a future focus. Instead of pushing change from the past, you pull it from the future.

When you think like a futurist, you can then act like an innovator. If you really want to create compelling change, first learn how to see into the future so you can design a path to success.

As a team, you stay ahead of the game. And as a leader, you can feel proud and excited to be leading this motivated team.

“To move faster and further, you need to pull more people than ever before into the strategic change game.”
— John Kotter, “Accelerate”, Harvard Business Review

Above all, you and your people will learn how to stay ahead of the game, make better decisions, and make them faster.

How do you get started?

For more about the Think Sharper program, please get in touch with me and I would love to talk with you about how we can work together to integrate this in your organisation.