Pragmatic Futurist : Unlock your leadership super power

We live in an era of unprecedented and relentless change. Changes are occurring very rapidly and any individual leader that ignores this reality will struggle to adapt and this will impact their own lives and businesses writes Chutisa and Steven Bowman.

In the current environment, making decisions and taking action have become more complex for business leaders in all industries and in all markets. Clearly leaders need different skills to take their businesses into the future. To make decisions efficiently, quickly, and strategically leaders must unlock their leadership superpower by developing the ability of a Pragmatic Futurist. When leaders develop their pragmatic futurist capacity they increase their power to shape their futures, even in the most turbulent of times. They will be equipped to take advantage of all the new opportunities that rapid social and technological progresses are creating. Business leaders can incorporate the pragmatic futurist’s power into their everyday operational practices, and begin to lead from the edge of possibilities.

A key element of a Pragmatic Futurist is the ability to create future potential possibilities. This is not to be confused with predicting the future. It is about being aware of future possibilities in order to act and influence them. Pragmatic Futurists can see different possibilities in seemingly random information, enabling them to take decisive action and to make the choices that bring strategic advantage, while their peers are still assessing a situation. They don’t just navigate future global trends, they actually shape them. This is about being present with what is and looking for what can be. Without this capacity, leaders will have no idea as to what they must do in order to thrive in an era of rapid change.

So, how can you unlock your leadership superpower? 

In order to unlock your leadership superpower you have to be willing to embody and be a pragmatic futurist.  This requires new ways of being. And it is about having total awareness of everything and having the curiosity to go beyond what is known, comfortable or predictable. You have to ask questions. Everything must be a question for you, a whole life of questions. You cannot do a decision, conclusion, or judgment about anything.

To unlock your leadership superpower:

1 You have to be willing to expand beyond this reality and to be willing to receive awareness from everyone and everything without judgement. Develop the ability to see the big picture as well as having total clarity about the details of a situation here and now. Become willing to perceive, know, be, and receive everything without any limitations, fixed points of view, or judgements.

2 Embrace your knowing and stop identifying with your thinking mind. You will not be able to expand your awareness as long as you are in your mind. You contract your awareness when you identify with your thoughts, feelings, and emotions; when you define yourself in a particular way; and when you try to ‘figure things out’. Expanding awareness means rising above thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Every time you stop identifying with your mind, your zone of awareness expands.

Seek out ambiguity in everything you explore and let go of conclusion. Any time you come to a conclusion about anything, you cut off your receiving and your awareness. Nothing that doesn’t match your conclusion can come into your awareness. Your awareness will expand exponentially as you let go of your conclusion and become more present with what is actually going on around you. Ambiguity just means that you are open to all possibilities.

Challenge all of your assumptions and be willing to go against traditional wisdom. An important feature of a pragmatic futurist is the capacity to get beyond the limitations of assumption. Seek to become aware of the assumption and the boundaries that define conventional practices, predictable routines, conformist behaviours, and business-as-usual approaches—and then deliberately step beyond them.

 Live in the question and not the answer. When you’re being the question with everything, you can have total awareness of it. Living in the question requires an open mind, a willingness to receive uncertainty, and the audacity to explore and investigate unfamiliar territory.

Chutisa & Steven Bowman are global business advisors.

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