How to Future-Proof Your Leadership (Video & Podcast)

9 min read
How to Future-Proof Your Leadership (Video & Podcast)

Future-proofing allows organizations to plan countermeasures and allocate resources for possible problems ahead of time, helping leaders avoid cognitive biases. That’s the key take-away message of this episode of the Wise Decision Maker Show, which describes how to future-proof your leadership.


Video: “How to Future-Proof Your Leadership”


Podcast: “How to Future-Proof Your Leadership”



Links Mentioned in Videocast and Podcast


Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the wise decision maker show where we help you make the wisest and most profitable decisions. My name is Dr. Gleb Tsipursky. I’m the CEO of disaster avoidance experts. And we bring to you the wise decision maker show today and the wise decision maker show, we’ll discuss how you can future proof your leadership, your leadership, your career yourself, focusing on you as a leader and your team. Now, thinking about future proofing, what is that about? That’s about the technique: the way that you can address threats and maximize opportunities, address unexpected threats, maximize golden opportunities, that’s what every leader wants to do. So how do you future proof your organization and your team? How do you make sure that you make the right decisions today, to prevent future disasters and to seize those great opportunities coming up, you need to follow the research and best practices from Fortune 500 companies. I’ve been working as a consultant and expert for Fortune 500 companies, ranging from Aflac to Xerox for over 20 years. And so I can speak from the real world pragmatic world. I’ve also spent over 15 years in academia, researching these topics, decision making, future proofing risk management, and I can speak from the behavioral science research perspective. And you want to be at that sweet spot of combining best practices from Fortune 500 firms with the research from behavioral science instead of following your instincts. Unfortunately, leaders follow their instincts way too often, they go with their gut, follow their heart, trust their intuitions. But if you really think about it, our intuitions are not evolved for the modern world. The modern world has been around really since 1990. So the rise of the Internet, and we have not had time to evolve for it. Our instincts are not suited for the modern environment. They are evolved for the ancient Savanna environment. When we lived in small tribes of 50 to 150 people were hunters, gatherers and foragers. So we had to make quick snap decisions. And that’s called the fight or flight response. That is a big, big problem. In modern decision making, leaders are encouraged to make their responses instantaneously, quickly, or SNAP response. That’s bad. In the modern world, that’s great for the savanna environment. When you don’t want to get eaten by a saber toothed Tiger. You don’t have time to sit and think about what to do when a saber toothed Tiger suddenly shows up in the middle of your campfire. That is not the time to sit and think what to do. That is a time for fight or flight depending on your situation. But that’s in this modern environment with many less saber toothed tigers, we have time and plenty of time, in most cases, to make decisions. Even in the cases where you have a short period of time, you still have a few minutes to ponder the question. And leaders calling their instincts and just making a decision and going out going on with their day leads to a lot of bad decisions and very negative consequences down the road. That’s why I have so many fires and so much firefighting, where leaders spend so much of their time just doing firefighting instead of doing real work. That is bad when you make those decisions, you make the wrong decisions, you often leaders don’t get stakeholder buy-in without not sufficient data. That is a big, big problem. That’s one set of problems. So that fight or flight response from the evolutionary environment. Now another set of problems comes from that tribalism. So we lived in those tribes of 50 to 150. People, it was very important for us to be strongly tribal. If we weren’t sufficiently tribal, we would be kicked out of our tribe and we would die. And if we weren’t sufficiently hostile to other tribes, well, they take a salver. And we’re also done. And we noticed, we’re the descendants of those people who didn’t die with the descendants of those people who had a very strong tribal impulse and very strong fighter flight response. But that is not great for the modern world. If you try to favor intuitively instinctively, we all do favor people who we perceive to be in our group. It’s very tempting and intuitive to favor those who we perceive to be in our own group, whatever we perceive our own group to be and not favor those who discriminate against those from the opposite groups. Again, great for the spanner, but in the complex, multicolored children, global multipolar world, that’s a very big, big problem. And that all leads to a series of specific dangerous judgment errors are called cognitive biases. So cognitive biases are the specific ways that our brain is mis wired for the modern world. They stem from our evolutionary background from the wiring and structure of our brain that those cognitive biases lead us to make bad decisions, irrational ones, ones that buy meaning irrational ones, those ones that prevent us from reaching our own goals. So when we set a goal, leadership goal, whatever career goal, you set that goal, and then you are making the wrong decisions to get to that goal. That’s a cognitive bias. These are these mental blind spots. That’s what you don’t want to see happen. We follow our primal instincts, that’s not great. So you need to learn about those cognitive biases and assess and address the areas where they might be impacting you individually, and your team as a whole. To do that, a great technique is future proofing. So future proofing techniques will be really helpful for you in thinking about how to make the best decisions, going forward to address these cognitive biases to address those problematic instincts and intuitions. And using a combination of techniques tested in Fortune 500 companies combined with research from behavioral science, a great method within the future proofing scope is called defend your future. And that’s what I want to really focus on today. This is for strategic planning. So if you’re thinking about strategy for yourself, as a leader for your team, for your career, future proofing, it is the broader area that we’re talking about here and defending your future is a specific technique within it that’s applicable to strategic planning. So here is what you do to defend your future technique. Now, you probably have done some strategic planning. And you’ve seen those strategic plans gathering dust in the bottom drawer somewhere after they inevitably fail when they meet reality. That’s not great strategic planning of that type is not good, and many leaders are allergic to it because of negative experience. Well, I’m here to tell you that this is not what defines your futures, like it’s not going to cause you to have a strategic plan that you gathered a straw dust somewhere in the bottom drawer. This is a technique that you will actually use and will be helpful to you throughout the lifetime of the plan. So what did you first decide on the scope of the plan? What do you want to focus on? Do you want to focus on yourself as a leader, your team, your organization as a whole, your business unit? Maybe your career, maybe a subcomponent of your work, make business development operations or something like that strategy for what? Then? What are the goals? Envision your desired outcome, and narrative is it meaning describe what will happen in a year from now or two years from now, three years from now, whatever the span of your strategic plan is? No, you can make the span anywhere from six months to five years. I don’t recommend longer than five years, it’s very hard to predict even five years out of two, three years as a better strategic plan. Five years, I know people like to do five years. So think about what you want to happen in 1235 years from now, and write a narrative of what that area will be like, the goals and what will happen when you reach those goals. So you want to have that clear vision of the future, as you start developing your strategic planning around defending your future technique, which will help you develop a number of scenarios by which you can reach that beautiful vision that you described. Alright, so you have a vision. Now you want to develop an initial plan, what would happen if everything goes as you anticipate, if the future goes as you intuitively feel it will go? what will actually happen? What kind of plan do you need and how many resources do they need to achieve that vision that you draw out? So make that plan and budget those resources. So put those resources aside, as a budget. Now, you might notice that this is what traditional strategic planning does, right? That’s what it does. You have a vision, and you make a plan, and you put aside resources. When you implement it, it stops there. And that’s why it ends up often in the bottom drawer of our corner desk somewhere where it’s really not very helpful to anyone. This is a mistake. It leads to a lot of failure, a lot of problems. What you want to do instead is develop a number of scenarios to address threats, maximize opportunities, and address cognitive biases. Let’s talk about what that means. First, addressing problems. Now. You probably heard the phrase that failure to plan is planning to fail. failing to plan is planning to fail. That’s a phrase that planning is important, but it’s kind of misleading unfortunately, because it implies that if you make a plan, everything will go according to plan, not the reality, things will very often not go according to plan. So you want to be prepared for things not going according to plan. And in order to do that, you need to figure out a number of scenarios where the future will not go as you planned, where there will be problems. And then you want to figure out how to address those problems. So much better saying is failing to plan for problems is planning to fail. That’s what I teach all my clients: failing to plan for problems is planning to fail. So consider all possible future problems, the range of them internal to your company, external to your company, whatever it might be, their likelihood, how likely they are to to occur, estimate that yourself with your team, and how impactful they will be some problems are hugely impactful, like this pandemic was hugely impactful, 2008 2009 fiscal crisis, maybe inflation is an issue, all those sorts of things. Maybe the fact that China with a pandemic is trying to have a very methodology of preventing all COVID might be a problem for you, depending on how much you deal with China, and so on all of these sorts of things, identify the steps that you need to resolve these problems or prepare for them. Sometimes you can resolve problems in advance. For example, if you have logistics issues that you anticipate keeping happening, going into the future, well, you can make a long term plan to address logistics by not outsourcing your logistics buy-in by bringing by onshoring them, and all of those sorts of things. And sometimes you can’t address the problem in advance, but you can prepare for it to happen. And then you have a problem risk mitigation plan in place. And then think about the resources you would need to solve these problems, the steps that you need to solve these problems like onboarding, onshoring your logistics chain, or preparing for problems like a risk mitigation plan? What kind of resources would you need to address problems in advance and mitigate the risks? Next, so you don’t want to simply address problems, you’re defending your future from problems, and as part of, and you’re also defending your future from not seizing opportunities. So the future proofing as a whole is about addressing dangerous threats and maximizing golden opportunities. So let’s think about how you can maximize your opportunities, consider what kind of unexpected opportunities might come about, maybe a competitor is not going to do well. And they need to have a fire sale of some sort. And you can get some of the resources pretty cheaply, something like that, that could be a good opportunity. Or maybe the government decides that just like the government decided that semiconductors need to be sponsored in the US. And in the US government. Mints are sponsoring semiconductor manufacturing. If you’re in semiconductors, one of my fortune 500 company clients is in high tech manufacturing, that provides equipment to semiconductors. So they’re in a good spot, because they will be it will help their market share it will help them that the government is sponsoring it. So that’s a great opportunity. So consider how you prepare for these opportunities and seize them. What steps can you take right now to bring these opportunities about? And for those that you can’t really take steps right now? What kind of plans can you make to make sure that you seize those opportunities when they occur? Consider and set aside the resources that you’ll need to do so. Next, so those are defending against problems maximizing opportunities. Next check for cognitive biases. So cognitive biases are these dangerous judgment errors that we just talked about. And it’s tempting for us to fall into them. So you want to make sure that you check your scenarios of problems and opportunities for cognitive biases that you might be vulnerable to, they might and your team might be vulnerable to they really hurt strategic planning. So then adjust your plans accordingly. Once you check for cognitive biases, and a lot of cognitive biases are described in my book, never go with your gut, how pioneering leaders make the best decisions and avoid business disasters. That talks about the 30 most common and dangerous cognitive biases in business settings and what you can do to address them. Next, you want to integrate, of course, all of these things into the plan. So you have the initial plan where there’s a traditional strategic plan where there’s a vision, and there’s an initial plan and resources. Now you want to integrate these new things, defending against problems, maximizing opportunities, and preventing and addressing cognitive biases into the plan and all the steps that you discussed all the resources and then integrate all of them into the initial plan. Now, how that’s you defend your future technique as part of broader future proofing? So what can you do to integrate future proofing itself as well as defend your future, but more generally, future proofing, defending against threats and maximizing opportunities into your organization, you need to remember that the skills of future proofing AI are by definition, counter intuitive. They go against your intuitions, they will feel uncomfortable, they will feel like that is wrong, your gut is going to tell you that that is wrong, it doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t fit your gut reactions. And it doesn’t fit how you approach upscaling professional development, it just is not a good fit. And that is a big problem, leaders perceive it’s not a good fit, and they feel it’s not a good fit. And then because of their feelings, they make really bad decisions about ignoring future proofing and not going with it, making bad decisions for themselves and for their teams. And that really hurts some down the line. So you need to go against your intuitions, you need to go against your gut instincts to integrate future proofing techniques into your organization and team. And you need to help your team do so. Again, it’s all about emotions, gut reactions, and intuition instincts. That’s about emotions. So you want to make sure that your team members are not rejecting these techniques out of hand, because of their negative emotions toward them, which of course, they’ll have negative emotions, because their gut tells them, it’s strong, it’s counterintuitive, it’s bright, it’s bad. We leaders, team members really overestimate our skills in strategic planning and decision making. And it clearly shows that the fact that strategic plans so often gather dust in the bottom corner of a desk indicates that we’re not very good at strategic planning. It’s not that the strategic planning process itself is bad. It’s that leaders aren’t great at it, because they make that initial plan. And then they don’t think about all the problems and all of the opportunities. So they can have a variety of paths to get to that plan, as opposed to that one path that is very rarely going to come about. And of course, decision making is really a problem for leaders and for all professionals, everyone, every one of us because of these cognitive biases. So you want to get your team emotionally invested into gaining skills, and addressing these cognitive biases, and making sure to have good decision making and strategic planning. To do so shows the team the past failures. That happened because of the lack of great strategic planning because of cognitive biases, and future proofing as a specific tool as a broad set of skills. So future proofing as a broad set of skills as a specific as a broad toolset to address these failures, and to maximize opportunities going forward. By doing so by showing the team Hey, we didn’t do so great in the past. Here’s a killer said future proofing that can help us address failures, maximize opportunities, and you can use within that broad skill set. Defend your future as a specific technique within that helps you with strategic planning. And that will help your team buy into these techniques even though they feel counterintuitive. Alright, everyone, I hope you’ve enjoyed and benefited from this episode of How to future proof your leadership on the wise decision maker show. Please make sure to follow the wise decision maker show on iTunes, Amazon podcasts. Well, there we have seen, there’s a podcast that has a podcast listen to it, or whether you saw it as a video cast on YouTube or elsewhere. Please make sure to follow us and by subscribing. And please leave a review. I’d love to see a review on iTunes in particular, that would be great. That’s the best thing you can do to show your appreciation of the podcast. And please share it with your friends and neighbors and on your social media. That would be great. I’d love to hear any questions you have. Please email me at Gleb GL EB at disaster avoidance Again, that’s Gleb GL EB at disaster avoidance I read every email and try my best to respond to every email sometimes I can’t but I try my best. Alright everyone. I hope to see you on the next episode of the wise decision maker show. And in the meantime, the wisest and most profitable decisions to you my friends 


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Bio: Dr. Gleb Tsipursky is a world-renowned thought leader in future-proofing, decision making, and cognitive bias risk management in the future of work. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-proofing consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts, which specializes in helping forward-looking leaders avoid dangerous threats and missed opportunities. A best-selling author, he wrote Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019), The Blindspots Between Us: How to Overcome Unconscious Cognitive Bias and Build Better Relationships (New Harbinger, 2020), and Returning to the Office and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage (Intentional Insights, 2021). His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, French, and other languages. He was featured in over 550 articles and 450 interviews in prominent venues. These include Harvard Business Review, Fortune, USA Today, Inc. Magazine, CBS News, Business Insider, Government Executive, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Time, Fast Company, and elsewhere. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for mid-size and large organizations ranging from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist, including 7 as a professor at Ohio State University. You can contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, LinkedIn, Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Medium @dr_gleb_tsipursky, and gain free access to his “Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace’’ and his “Wise Decision Maker Course” with 8 video-based modules at