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6 Ways to Thrive in a Changing World

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The future will bring unprecedented change. Only by developing the skills to navigate this change, we’ll be able to thrive. This meta skill adaptability is the focus of this paper.

First, we’ll discuss eleven future trends that will shape the decade ahead. Then we’ll present the six skills to thrive in a changing world, and action steps for your growth. Throughout you’ll find exercises that help your apply the learnings.

This paper blends a scientific approach from in-depth interviews with business leaders and entrepreneurs, with personal observations in the real world, to help individuals and organizations prepare for and adapt to a changing world.

About the author:
Alex T. Steffen (30) is a leadership expert and speaker for business innovation. He advises executives at Fortune 500 companies and SMEs to think differently and teaches them how to anticipate and manoeuvre radical change. Change X named him Management Thought Leader.

Published in: Business
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6 Ways to Thrive in a Changing World

  1. 1. Six Ways To THRIVE IN A CHANGING WORLD - 2020 Workbook - MOONLANDER Think Tank
  2. 2. The future will bring unprecedented change. Only by developing the skills to navigate this change, we’ll be able to thrive. This meta skill adaptability is the focus of this paper. First, we’ll discuss eleven future trends that will shape the decade ahead. Then we’ll present the six skills to thrive in a changing world, and action steps for your growth. Throughout you’ll find exercises that help your apply the learnings. This paper blends a scientific approach from in-depth interviews with business leaders and entrepreneurs, with personal observations in the real world, to help individuals and organizations prepare for and adapt to a changing world. Enjoy the work! Abstract MOONLANDER2
  3. 3. This paper is for you if you are curious about the future and your role in it. It’s also for you if you want to take an active role in designing your work and ensure quality of life. We believe the future is filled with opportunity. We are excited to share tools that empower you to CreateTomorrow and thrive. Let’s get started with the eleven trends that shape the decade ahead. Hello Friend! MOONLANDER Moonlander Think Tank uses crowd sourcing to develop future ideas for people and organizations. Alex T. Steffen (author) is a management thought leader and best-selling author for leadership & innovation. 3 Thanks for picking up this paper. We’re excited about the future.
  4. 4. 3 2 1 11 Trends That Shape The Decade Ahead MOONLANDER4 Complexity and interdependency increase in all areas of life, making it harder for leaders and individuals to make qualified decisions. Economic cycles are becoming harder to predict, putting unprepared people at risk of losing their career and livelihood. Technology, finance, business, government, and communication all decentralize, requiring a fundamental redesign. Demonetization and dematerialization require new paradigms for how we exchange value.
  5. 5. 1⁄4 of adults in the developed world are suffering from a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety. Heart disease is the leading cause of death and closely related to stress. We’re also facing a social isolation epidemic. Our economic model needs an audit. OECD countries are ageing fast, putting a strain on retirement funds and the younger generations.  MOONLANDER 11 Trends That Shape The Decade Ahead 5 5 4
  6. 6. We’re observing a leadership vacuum on a national and organisational level, leaving few charismatic and able leaders in the driver seat. The education system doesn’t prepare the next workforce for tomorrow’s challenges. At the same time, there's unlimited access to free learning resources, which are a worthy alternative to the old educational system. The divide between the rich and poor is increasing globally, creating friction and political shifts. MOONLANDER 11 Trends That Shape The Decade Ahead 6 8 7 6
  7. 7. Automation and robotics are changing the job landscape and require massive re-skilling, up- skilling, and on-the-job training efforts. Free use of digital services continues to be expected by consumers. As tech giants dominate the supply, data privacy becomes a public concern. The internet is continuing to provide marvellous possibilities and tools for building an abundant, sovereign life. Top talents who leverage this resource often leave the talent pool for good. MOONLANDER 11 Trends That Shape The Decade Ahead 7 11 10 9
  8. 8. While most of the 11 trends appear negative, they can be a tremendous OPPORTUNITY - as long as you know how to respond. How Can You Prepare For An Uncertain Future? MOONLANDER In the past, the world belonged to a small elite who owned land or resources. Later, it belonged to those who owned information. While most privileges are restricted (gender, skin color, nationality), mindset privilege is accessible to anyone! This grants you immense powers over your experience at work and at home. You are now in the driver seat. Those paradigms are fading. Mindset privilege is the awareness, creative capacity and the spirit required to change your current reality. The future belongs to those who are able to ADAPT THEIR MIND 8
  9. 9. “Win over your mind and you win over the world.“ - Sri Sri Ravi Shankar MOONLANDER
  10. 10. MOONLANDER What The Experts Say Outdated EducationLeadership VacuumRising Complexity "Why is it difficult to thrive in a changing world?” We have asked 34 business leaders on their future outlook. Here are their top 3 responses: 10 Typical observations: Paralysis Overreaction Ostrich-effect Lack of vision Inaction Disputes Powerlessness Brain drain Pseudo-science
  11. 11. These are our top strategies to thrive in a changing world: MOONLANDER Creative Autonomy Smart Work HabitsChange Muscle Our 3-Step Formula to Thrive 11 Typical observations: Possibilities Enthusiasm Action Adaptability Perspective Collaboration Efficiency Cost savings Upward spiral
  12. 12. MOONLANDER CreateTomorrow Insights The best results are created at the intersection of creative autonomy, a trained change muscle, and smart work habits. The best organisations and individuals learn to fuel each skill with the next to create a flywheel that empowers them over and over.
  13. 13. Do you look at the future as a thing or as an ACTION? MOONLANDER
  14. 14. READY TO THRIVE?▶︎
  15. 15. The six 20th Century Skills Get a university degree Get a safe job Be loyal & move up the ladder Work hard Own information Extract resources Motive: Gain SAFETY The Skills We Required In The Past MOONLANDER15
  16. 16. The six 20th Century Skills The Six 21C Skills Get a university degree Get a safe job Be loyal & move up the ladder Work hard Own information Extract resources Motive: Gain SAFETY 1. Learn and unlearn every day 2. Develop personal resilience  3. Gain creative autonomy 4. Smart work habits  5. Interpret information 6. Train your change muscle Motive: Navigate UNCERTAINTY The Skills We Require In The Future MOONLANDER16
  17. 17. And What Now? MOONLANDER Notice how all of the 21C Skills are internal? We’re led to believe that the solutions to our problems are external. The truth is, you have all the answers inside. What makes any given situation or action meaningful, significant, and lasting is not the what. The what is arbitrary, and replaceable. Here’s an example: Many companies build computers or phones. It is the how that makes a difference. It is the how that justifies Apple Inc’s higher prices for their customers. It is the how that lets you thrive in a changing world. 17
  18. 18. MOONLANDER An outdated mindset can be a costly LIABILITY.
  19. 19. What That Means For You An analogy from nature: flying fish can adapt quickly by using their fins for wings when they need to escape from predators. Flying fish have existed for 240 million years. Next, we’ll break down the six 21C skills into action steps, you and your team can successfully transform your workplace. MOONLANDER The commonality among the 20th century skills, is getting something. A black or white position of either lack or wealth. The commonality among the 21C Skills is building something. A position of power no matter your access to scarce resources. Getting resources will not cut it in the future. Shifting paradigms may cause you to lose them again in the blink of an eye. In order to thrive means to stay adaptable. 19
  20. 20. The Six 21C Skills to Thrive in a Changing World 1. Develop personal resilience 2. Gain creative autonomy 3. Learn & unlearn every day 4. Build smart work habits  5. Filter information 6. Train your change muscle 21 25 31 37 38 47 MOONLANDER
  21. 21. 1. Develop Personal Resilience  1. Mental hygiene: to clean up stuck energy, that has built up in your nervous system, meditate regularly. You wouldn’t leave your teeth unbrushed for a month, would you? 2. Reduce news and social media consumption to avoid ingesting polarising and distorting pictures of the world. Creating tomorrow requires constructive information. MOONLANDER 3. Learn how to change your emotional state at will. Your ability to State Change puts you in control of your emotions and reaction patterns more often, instead of leaving you a slave to them. See the exercise below. 4. Learn to see brick walls, i.e. setbacks, as a way to test your desire to succeed. Do you want to be in a motivated, constructive and optimistic mindset, independent of the conditions in your external environment? 21
  22. 22. “Brick walls are there to show you how much you really want something.“ - Randy Pausch MOONLANDER
  23. 23. MOONLANDER Changing Your Emotional State Movement Drink water … Tough day? Ask yourself: “What can I do right now to positively influence my emotional state?” Methodology Resource Positive HabitPhysical Focus questions … Motivational video Music you love … Call a friend … Something you can do in under 5 minutes 23 Examples
  24. 24. The Six 21C Skills to Thrive in a Changing World 1. Develop personal resilience 2. Gain creative autonomy 3. Learn & unlearn every day 4. Build smart work habits  5. Filter information 6. Train your change muscle MOONLANDER 21 25 31 37 38 47
  25. 25. 2. Gain Creative Autonomy 1. Do you want to be in the driver seat of your life and create your experience? Treat your (working) life like a startup business. You’ll have to make smart decisions on strategy, personal brand, valuation & finances, partnerships, etc in order to thrive. 2. Learn to recognise and distance yourself from sources of draining and negative energy. Whether a carping coworker or a frustrating process that makes you feel like you’re hitting your head against a wall. Attempt to change your reality. Vibrate higher to become more prolific, creative and effective. MOONLANDER 3. You can probably remember a project you wasted a lot of time and energy on, due to lack of clarity or intent. You can gain effectiveness by knowing your intention before you act out any plan. The Know Your HOW exercise below gives you a simple tool to do that. 4. Do you have sceptical superiors crossing your plan to grow? Find ways to gain their trust. Ask for new freedoms and responsibilities in small increments and then go above and beyond in your delivery. 25
  26. 26. MOONLANDER Know Your HOW Your why gives you direction. Your how gives you a competitive edge. Ask yourself: “What am I doing differently, that makes my work memorable and unique?” Here’s Apple’s example. Now create your own. Something you can do in under 5 minutes Your WHY Your HOW Your WHAT Empower creatives to do their best work. Smartphones Laptops Streaming Minimalistic & stunning design & UX Low user involvement (updates, backend) Useful innovation (magnetic power cable) 26 Examples
  27. 27. MOONLANDER Are you creating a WAKE, like the wake of a ship, whose positive impact can be seen for miles?
  28. 28. MOONLANDER The Responsibility Process Unlocking your natural ability to live and lead with power Suggested Reading by Christopher Avery 28
  29. 29. “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you COME ALIVE and go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.“ - Howard Thurman MOONLANDER
  30. 30. The Six 21C Skills to Thrive in a Changing World 1. Develop personal resilience 2. Gain creative autonomy 3. Learn & unlearn every day 4. Build smart work habits  5. Filter information 6. Train your change muscle MOONLANDER 21 25 31 37 38 47
  31. 31. 3. Learn & Unlearn Every Day 3. Acquire useful digital skills such as digital marketing and data analytics. Those are the foundation for your competence and competitiveness in the future. 4. Actively reflect about experiences of friction in your (work) life and determine which of your habits and beliefs have lead you there. Exchange those for better ones. The Perfect Workday exercise below has helped hundreds of people drastically improve their lives. MOONLANDER 1. Train your street smart, out-of-the-box, contrarian mindset. Book smarts (= theorists) create a perfect map of an imperfect world. Street Smarts are able to respond effectively to real-life challenges because they have seen them first-hand. 2. Practice taking on different perspectives and roles. Argue a topic from a standpoint you do not call your own to get the bigger picture. A large part of what we consider knowledge is constantly being updated. The lifetime of knowledge is falling. Staying curious to the changing world around you gives you a tremendous advantage. 31
  32. 32. MOONLANDER The Story of The Chinese Farmer Once upon a time, there was a Chinese farmer. One day he lost a horse, which ran away. All the neighbors came by that evening and said, “that’s too bad, isn’t it!?” And the farmer said, “maybe.” The next day, the horse came back and brought seven wild horses with it. And all the neighbors came around and said, “that’s great, isn’t it!?” And the farmer said, “maybe.” The next day, the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the horses. While riding, he broke his leg. And all the neighbors came around in the evening and said, “that's too bad isn't it!?” And the farmer, of course, said “maybe.” The next day, the conscription officers came around looking for people for the army. And they rejected his son because he had a broken leg. The neighbors came by that evening said, “isn't that wonderful!?” And he said “maybe.” The point, according to the zen teacher Alan Watts is “to try to live in such a way that nothing is either an advantage or a disadvantage”. Because the whole process of nature is an integrated process of immense complexity. This means it’s really impossible to tell, whether any event is good or bad, because you never know what will be the consequence of the (mis)fortune.
  33. 33. MOONLANDER “You are free when you can choose how you live.“ - Unknown
  34. 34. MOONLANDER Perfect Workday Morning Ask yourself: “What does my ideal workday look like? Where can you be myself/creative?” The resulting story gives you a reference, an anchor, for your future life and work experience. People who have completed this exercise claim increased clarity and a feeling of empowered drive. Noon Afternoon Evening Something you can do in under 5 minutes Dinner circle Video Excel Negotiation Colleagues Family members September 1 September 30 34 Examples
  35. 35. MOONLANDER How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen Suggested Reading 35
  36. 36. The Six 21C Skills to Thrive in a Changing World 1. Develop personal resilience 2. Gain creative autonomy 3. Learn & unlearn every day 4. Build smart work habits  5. Filter information 6. Train your change muscle MOONLANDER 21 25 31 37 38 47
  37. 37. 4. Build Smart Work Habits 1. Action is the effect AND the cause of motivation. Despite limited information, take a baby step towards your goal to break the pattern of self-doubt.  2. Consider the cost of inaction, emotionally, physically, and financially at various time horizons like six months, twelve months, and three years down the road. MOONLANDER 3. Kill overwhelm and focus on what’s important with tools like OKRs and the Eisenhower Matrix. 4. Invest in learning a soft skill you may need in the future such as negotiation or emotional intelligence. Think of skill clusters such as entrepreneurship skills. Stretch yourself by learning patience, or “how to fail and keep going”. Simple systems and processes are great for making your work easier. The problem starts when systems grow to a size where they reduce your creative capacity. The new paradigm: the simple platforms you build for yourself beat manpower & engineering (hard work). 37
  38. 38. “From the inside, the hamster wheel looks like a career ladder.“ - Graffiti in Berlin MOONLANDER
  39. 39. MOONLANDER Your simplified OKRs OBJECTIVES Ask yourself: “Can I supercharge my goal setting, linking a huge vision to measurable action?” KEY RESULTS Something you can do in under 5 minutes PLANS Aspirational Qualitative Time Bound Measurable Quantitative Difficult Actions/Initiatives High level Important Learn more 39
  40. 40. MOONLANDER The War of Art by Steven Pressfield Suggested Reading Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles 40
  41. 41. The Six 21C Skills to Thrive in a Changing World 1. Develop personal resilience 2. Gain creative autonomy 3. Learn & unlearn every day 4. Build smart work habits  5. Filter information 6. Train your change muscle MOONLANDER 21 25 31 37 38 47
  42. 42. 5. Filter Information 3. Recognise your own bias as it can impair the quality of your decisions. We’re all biased but we can overwrite this flaw with awareness and fact-based reasoning. 4. Develop macro decisions to avoid (micro) decision fatigue. See the Macro Decisions exercise below. MOONLANDER 1. Many people are unable to tell the uncut gems from the pebbles. Look for opportunity in the chaos. Train your ability to single out what's useful for achieving your goals from all the the “noise”. 2. Learn scientific derivation and train your reasoning skills to avoid falling for superficial knowledge and manipulative information. Ownership of information alone is not enough in a world in which almost all information is freely available. Interpretation, visualization and predictions make information valuable. 42
  43. 43. MOONLANDER Look closely at what's hidden BELOW THE SURFACE!
  44. 44. MOONLANDER Macro Decisions Macro Decisions Ask yourself: “What general rules can reduce (micro) decision fatigue and improve my life?” Something you can do in under 5 minutes Capsule outfit No meetings before 10am. No emails on Sunday. No coffee/sugar before lunch. Micro Decisions What will I wear? Does this suit the occasion? … Am I prepared? What time do I have to leave? … Find quality time with family. Weigh priorities. … Ability to focus. Fighting an energy low. 44 Reduced stress Recurring sources of stress Examples
  45. 45. MOONLANDER Factfulness by Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund Suggested Reading Ten Reasons We're Wrong About The World - And Why Things Are Better Than You Think 45
  46. 46. The Six 21C Skills to Thrive in a Changing World 1. Develop personal resilience 2. Gain creative autonomy 3. Learn & unlearn every day 4. Build smart work habits  5. Filter information 6. Train your change muscle MOONLANDER 21 25 31 37 38 47
  47. 47. 6. Train Your Change Muscle 1. Train your idea muscle. Ideas are the currency of the future. Try this fun game: pick one topic each day for a week and come up with 10 ideas how to solve it. Eg. 10 ways to find more clients/speed up team review/connect with my coworkers. 2. Train your change muscle. When the big change hits, you want to be prepared. Do something out of your comfort zone every day. Be sure to create a sense of urgency among seniors who haven’t yet discovered their mindset privilege. MOONLANDER 3. Our social nature makes us thrive. Nurture your relationships and build a power- network for learning and support. Meeting a new person, be the first to extend trust and vulnerability. You can build a meaningful connection fast that way. 4. Identify change agents around you and across divisions. Create circles to discuss and plan healthy steps to improve your situation. Learn the leadership skill of Kind Confidence (see slide 53). The only constant in life is change. Unless you’re used to change, making a change is difficult. 47
  48. 48. Case Study: Allow Your Team To Thrive MOONLANDER In 2002, Frank van Massenhove became head of the Belgian Ministry of Social Affairs. What he found was a textbook public office: five levels of hierarchy, low employee retention and productivity, low attractiveness for highly skilled talent, high costs and high burnout rates. In short: no place of innovation and no place for a thriving workforce. By applying five simple steps, he transformed the ministry into a showcase organization. First, he reduced the hierarchy levels from five to two. In the second step, he made his ministry virtually paperless, established flexible working hours and granted all employees a budget of ten percent for innovation projects. Third, he created a role called "Absurdistan." Their responsibility was to find out where and how one could improve previously cumbersome ways of working. Fourth, work was measured by outcome rather than attendance. In the fifth step, a large part of the meetings was abolished, which saved everybody time and nerves. The overall result? Employee retention, productivity and customer satisfaction all increased drastically, while costs have dropped significantly. Operational decisions are made in the team. 93 percent of applicants now want to work in van Massenhove's division, formerly it was 18 percent. Low-skilled employees account for only two percent of the workforce, initially it was 30 percent. This is a fabulous example of how de-bureaucratization and implementation of holistic strategies are creating success stories. 48
  49. 49. MOONLANDER The Cost of Inaction 6 Months 1 Year 3 Years YOUR EMOTIONS YOUR LOST REVENUE YOUR REPUTATION … Ask yourself (or your boss): “What is the cost of not asking for the promotion OR starting that company OR …” Something you can do in under 5 minutes 49
  50. 50. MOONLANDER Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson Suggested Reading The Natural History of Innovation 50
  51. 51. MOONLANDER Are you a BRIDGE, connecting two opposite river banks?
  52. 52. Six Timeless Skills We’ll Need in The Future 4. Trying to influence someone? Use stories, metaphors and analogies to explain your ideas. People will forget your words, but they will never forget how you make them feel. 5. Never decide while under stress. Stress literally makes us less intelligent. If you feel triggered, take a breath and wait until cortisol levels have lowered, before moving on. 6. Get to know who you really are. As long as how other people see you or expect you to be collides with your own self-image, the friction will likely keep you from thriving.  MOONLANDER 1. Movement, sleep, healthy nutrition, and water are the building blocks of a strong body and mind. Good fuel gets you farther. Don’t let convenience harm your engine. 2. Reduce smartphone use. The science is clear. Create triggers to remind yourself to stop scrolling on social media. Turn off notifications when doing deep-work. Take media holidays and use the time for real life connections. 3. Master personal finance to escape financial prison and remain in a creative space. 52
  53. 53. Take The Free Test Do you work in a curious organization? We have interviewed 34 business leaders and gathered data from a recent study by BCG, to determine the factors that support an innovation culture and drive business success in the future. Take our free test to learn what areas your team can improve. MOONLANDER 5 Minute Workplace Quiz
  54. 54. MOONLANDER “Action is the effect and the cause of motivation.“ - Mark Manson
  55. 55. MOONLANDER Start a CreateTomorrow Circle (CTC) Ask yourself: “Who in my organization wants to explore ideas for improvement.” Create a gathering and begin discussing ways to support each other in achieving more creative autonomy, training your change muscle, and developing smarter work habits. Something you can do in under 5 minutes Change Makers Idea Bank 55 Tom Maria Develop common vision Evaluate goal setting methodology Examples
  56. 56. CreateTomorrow Seminar 1. Mindset Privilege: Think in Possibilities 2. The Key 21C Workplace Skills 1. Gain Creative Autonomy 2. Train Your Change Muscle 3. Build Smart Work Habits 3. The 21C Leadership Tools 1. State Change: gain control over your emotional state 2. Kind Confidence: a modern leader’s winning skillset To request more information, drop us an email at info@alextsteffen.com MOONLANDER56 For change agents: learn how to build an innovation culture and drive business success in the future. 2020 launch -30%
  57. 57. The Author Alex T. Steffen (30) is a leadership expert and speaker for business innovation. He advises executives at Fortune 500 companies and SMEs to think differently and teaches them how to anticipate and manoeuvre radical change. Change X named him Management Thought Leader. Alex knows from first hand experience the pain points of established companies as well as the innovation culture in pioneering startups. This unique perspective, makes the TEDx speaker and best-selling author a leader in the field of organizational development. Alex’ clients include senior leaders from Accenture, SAP, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, Huawei, and more. Alex is the bridge that spans the communication and innovation gap, to drive business results in the future. MOONLANDER I advise those who create tomorrow. 57
  58. 58. Stay In Touch Visit Alex' website alextsteffen.com to discover more insights. Subscribe and get Alex' LinkedIn articles on business innovation. Subscribe Now Visit Website MOONLANDER Please share this paper with a friend. #CreateTomorrow Thank you for reading Six Ways To Thrive in a Changing World. Share on WhatsApp 58
  59. 59. MOONLANDER © alextsteffen.com - All rights reserved. Reprinting, making copies or reproduction (of pages, text snippets, or graphics) in any way or form (print, photocopy, screenshot, or different method) as well as processing, reproduction and distribution with the help of electronic systems of any kind, are prohibited without the explicit written permission of the author. All translation rights are reserved. Moonlander Press, Berlin Copyright © 2020 Alex T. Steffen All rights reserved. Illustrations & photography by unsplash.com

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