Summary of Leaders Make the Future

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Leaders Make the Future book summary

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  • Innovative


Three years into his latest 10-year forecast, noted futurist Bob Johansen believes his core analysis still holds true for a tempestuous world influenced by four factors: “volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity,” or “VUCA.” Johansen expands on his first edition with updated material about his prognostications, all neatly depicted in a colorful graphic. Johansen outlines emergent opportunities and provides new insights that he gleaned from more than 150 leadership workshops based on the 10 skills he considers essential for leaders of the future. Filled with examples of these skills in action, the text also includes a leadership skills "self-test." getAbstract believes astute leaders and students of leadership will find hope in these remedies for turning the daunting VUCA environment into a place of “vision, understanding, clarity and agility.”

About the Author

Bob Johansen, author of several books, was president of the Institute for the Future from 1996 to 2004, is its current Distinguished Fellow and has created 10-year predictions for more than three decades.


“Listening for the Future”

Society is evolving into a noisy, chaotic world, characterized by “volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity” (“VUCA”). Elements of the VUCA paradigm have existed throughout history, but never to the extent evident in the early 21st century. Leaders who make decisions without regard to VUCA realities tend to exhibit various “dysfunctional and dangerous” attitudes and reactions, including fear, disdain, procrastination, frustration, anger and denial.

The future portends four important changes: 1) The world will become more complex, 2) leaders will face both “danger and opportunity,” 3) leaders will need nontraditional skills to shape the future, and 4) traditional approaches will no longer suffice to meet the challenges ahead. To succeed in the face of these shifts, future leaders must implement a more positive VUCA made up of “vision, understanding, clarity and agility.” To do so, they must gain and use the “leadership skills of the future,” abilities they will need to handle the negative impact of the “external future forces,” the powerful drivers that will shape society’s main problems:

  • “Diasporas” – Mass pilgrimages...

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