HIGH BEAM LEADERSHIP

High Beam Leadership is the ability for a leader to look out three to five years and anticipate trends that will impact their organizations. With technology transforming every aspect of your organization and strategy, your capability to harness these transforming technologies has become not only critical but necessary for the prosperity of your organization. High Beam leadership requires developing a High Beam strategy, one that builds on the ability to spot trends and react to them. It requires being able to take advantage of a trend or defend against its negative impact. Becoming a High Beam leader takes effort. The process involves staying current on three types of trends: organizational, industry, and macro, while tying these trends to your strategy and developing a robust investment portfolio. Our High Beam Strategy Process is designed to help organizations better incorporate elements of the future that will have a big impact on results, and prepare a plan to leverage or defend these areas.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

1// PROACTIVE HIGH BEAM STRATEGY

If you cannot spot upcoming trends you cannot react to them quickly enough. Being a High Beam leader means you can leverage emerging trends to your advantage to be a leader rather than a follower. Every organization needs High Beam leadership to survive and outmaneuver the competition.

2// HIGH BEAM TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT

The business leaders who adopt and invest in a High Beam strategy are the ones who can see the furthest into the future, anticipate what lies ahead, and push their organizations at high speeds. In today’s high velocity environment, low-beam strategy just won’t cut it.

Our process is a framework that teams can use to plan for the future in a concise and disciplined way. This is an increasingly important need because the velocity of the economy and social trends are increasing and the time to adjust elements of a strategy is shrinking.  Without a clear picture of what the future holds, leaders risk being unprepared when current trends, and changes, alter the landscape.

Becoming a High Beam leader will require changing the way you view the world and your industry. This is not an easy shift. Future Point of View offers tools and techniques for future-casting in your organization and in your industry. We offer private and public education to develop leaders’ High Beam vision. This includes teaching ways leaders can begin:

  • Identifying Trends – Forecast trends in your industry that will be impactful
  • Create a View of the Future – Build an illustration of what the future will look like in your industry
  • Understand the Concept of Rivers of Information® and Work to Form a River – A River of Information is a stream of content that you build to develop your IQ on a subject or subjects (i.e. machine intelligence or data activation) that will help you develop your High Beam abilities
  • Creating an Action Plan – Create a blueprint on how to guide your organization into this future and seize opportunities for growth
  • Communicate this Vision with Employees/Staff/Co-Workers – Share this vision with those around you to inspire and motivate the whole organization

A High Beam strategy session can be completed in as little as a one-day offsite retreat or can be more thoughtfully approached in a two-day discussion. Below are the steps that guide a High Beam session.

THE STEPS

STEP 1 – IDENTIFYING TRENDS

Important trends come in three different categories – macro trends, industry trends and organization (or local) trends.  The first step is to create a list of the most important trends that will have impact on the organization over the next 5 years in each category.

This is accomplished by providing a pre-meeting document that explains each category and gives examples.

This document can be completed in advance of the first meeting and can be handed out as widely as seems appropriate.  The goal is to get a viable list of possible trends to choose from.

Once the list has been created, a strategy retreat is conducted with the purpose of narrowing the list to the top three trends in each category that will have the most impact on the success or failure of the organization. This is normally accomplished by reviewing the total list of possible trends (starting in the macro category) and combining like trends into groups until you have a number of final possibilities. If there are more than five options, it is a good idea to use one of the idea honing methods below. Further debate and discussion should be used to narrow the field to three ideas.

IDEA HONING METHODS:

  • POST- IT-NOTE METHOD: Have each person in the room vote write their top three choices on a post-it note.  Tally the votes to see if you are able to have the top three ideas emerge. This process is repeated for each of the categories until there are three top trends identified in each category.
  • MOCK TRIAL:  Assign a prosecutor and defender for each trend idea. Give each person about two minutes to make their case for, or against the trend on trial. This mock trial process provides an action learning aspect to the retreat and is highly recommended, if time is available.

At this point, the first step has been completed and people are provided with the list of the important trends that will have an impact on the organization.

STEP 2 – FUTURE PICTURE

The team will then create a future picture of what the market, or environment, will look like at a point in time five years in the future. This is done by having each person in the room create a list of bullet points that describe new elements in the future that do not exist today. One by one, each person describes these areas and defends why they feel they are important and plausible in the future. Each element of change is written on the white board as people present so that, by the end, the list that remains has combined the like elements and only the unique ideas are left. From this list, approximately, ten future elements are chosen based on their likelihood and impact. The process of choosing the top ten is handled much like the trends were chosen step one. With these new points of view, a clear picture of the future five years out can be painted.

This session is really meant to be a green light creative process that gets all the participants on the same page as to what the environment will be like over the coming years. It is important that all the participants get the chance to express their unique views on how the future might be different. This is also the most difficult part of the process, because it requires a unique ability to hold a new picture in your head, and most people have a hard time getting past today’s reality.

Once a list of ten to twelve bullet points has been created and agreed to, you will have defined the future state. It is very possible that you will generate a number of these bullet points by extrapolating out the trends that you have agreed upon in step one. It is not necessary to tie these two steps together, but it naturally happens in many cases.

STEP 3 – ACTION PLAN

At this point, the team is ready to create a plan to either leverage or mitigate risks on the factors they see coming in the future. This is done by first reviewing the nine trends and making a determination as to whether the trend can be leveraged to make progress or if it needs to be defended because it is potentially dangerous to progress. As the team works through making these determinations, a list of possible action steps should be created in a parking area. Once completed, the team moves on to creating an investment portfolio for the future.

The goal of this portfolio is to create a group of investments that the organization can afford and that will help to set the entity up for success in the coming five-year timeframe.  This is accomplished by agreeing to specific areas to invest money, time, and energy into that will help leverage or defend the trends and the view of the future that has been developed.

In order to keep the portfolio diversified, the investments should be made in three different areas:

  • People – Investments in training, reorganizing, or equipping
  • Processes – Identifying the new or current processes that will be critical to execution in the future, and mechanizing, or improving them
  • Products – Adding new products or services that will appeal to the market in the future state

The concept for creating this portfolio is to institutionalize the process of investing in the future. You are making investments today; they just may not be agreed upon, communicated widely, measured, or coordinated. By focusing on investments in the three areas listed above, you are assured to create a broad-based investment package that will not be overly focused in one area. All three of these will yield results and need attention.

The final portfolio will include a set of action items that must be divided between the participants for them to own. Each item must be looked at as a single profit and loss center so that it is clear from year to year whether the investment is paying off or not. Although some investments might be difficult to measure, it is very important to find some method for valuing the return.

STEP 4 – COMMUNICATION

Once the High Beam Strategy Process has been completed, it is critical to communicate it to as many people in the organization as possible. When people have an agreed upon picture of the future, they make better decisions today. Do not miss the opportunity to use the output of the process to inspire the whole organization. Every member of the team is interested in where the organization is going. They will have more zeal for their role if they know where the whole team is headed.

AN ONGOING PROCESS….

An annual High Beam meeting should be convened each year to review the trends, future vision, and investment portfolio. At this meeting, new information and observations will cause each part to be upgraded. The investment portfolio should also be reviewed to see what kind of return was achieved.