Day 14: Thursday, April 16, 2020 

Pascal Finette, be radical: How to Navigate an Uncertain Present & Build for a Better Future

Pascal Finette introduced us to the concept of exponentials and prepared us for emerging trends that may take root in the AC (After Covid-19) world.

Here are a few key takeaways from the webinar:

Typically, there’s a slow and steady adoption rate of new technology – but the Covid-19 bump has increased that rate dramatically.

Pascal describes exponential growth by showing the audience a photo of his home office. If he were to increase the size of his home office (which by the way is a modest size) it would get larger slowly at first, but within days it would be the size of his house, and then shortly after that, it would be the size of the planet! Covid-19 has created a “bump” that accelerates that growth even more. He explains that it feels like nothing is happening for a long time and then suddenly it’s explosive. It’s hard for human beings to grasp exponentials – it’s so massive. But in the days and weeks to come, we will begin to see exponential growth in new technologies designed either to fight Covid-19 or manage the impact the virus has had on everyday life.

Weak signals are indicating emerging AC (after Covid-19) trends.

A weak signal is an indicator of a potentially emerging product or technology, that may become significant in the future; they often signal a forthcoming trend. The Covid-19 bump is accelerating these trends. Here are a few weak signals to consider:

Remote Work. What are the implications of remote work on different sectors? For example, commercial real estate may decrease because you need less office space, but residential real estate may go up because people need larger home offices. Management practices may change. The office supply chain may change. Human Resources may change.

Food Delivery. Even before Covid-19, 37% of Americans used food delivery services. What might this look like in the future? And how might that impact food packaging, for example? Food is currently packed to optimize shelf space, what are the implications of different food delivery mechanisms?

Sports. Already we see professional athletes playing themselves in video games being broadcast to live audiences – will this lead to new ways of “playing” and appreciating sports?

Retail. So many people are using this time to purge their household of extraneous “junk” – In what ways will this impact consumerism?

Community. We are seeing a massive resurgence of community. People caring for each other, for example, doing the neighborhood shopping run for people at risk. We’ve witnessed the celebration of nature returning to cities: there are coyotes in San Francisco and birds are returning to New York City. This might change people and their thinking about their destructive consumer patterns and behavior. 

Culture makes success possible. 

Pascal suggests that businesses learn from Ron Shaich, founder of Panera Bread and Conscious Capitalism, Inc. board member, who said,  “Our approach has always been to discover today what matters tomorrow and transform our company into the future that is unfolding before us…” Reminding us that right now, most companies are focusing on the market, their business model, their operational model, etc. and that’s fine, but they really ought to be focusing on their people, their mission & purpose, and their culture because these are essential elements that must be firmly established if you are to have a team capable of “discovering what matters today” and “transforming it into the future unfolding before us.” That will require a culture and a team that sees failure as an opportunity to learn. In the words of Winston Churchill, “success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” 

Jim Clifton, Gallup: How To Create a Boom in the American and Global Jobs Engine Again After COVID-19

Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup, provides us with a mix of data and big ideas. He sees the world in numbers every day and translates those numbers into strategies to improve the future. Jim begins the webinar with several disturbing facts about the state of the American economy (even before Covid-19), but leaves us with three powerful, data-driven directives for a better future for all.

Here are the key takeaways from the webinar:

What’s coming next and how do we shoot our way out? 

The answer is capitalism, specifically, Conscious Capitalism.

Government was not built to build this economy, that’s what you and I have to do.

We all have to manage this crisis, but if we just manage the crisis, we will lose America and lose our democracy. We need to manage this crisis AND build for the future. Creating new customers like we never have before.

There are three key elements to building the future.

  1. Establish a Builders State of Mind. We are in the wrong mentality. Too often we ask each other, “What do you do?” That’s not a question for Americans. The question should be “What are you building?” No one just wants a job; we want to build something. That doesn’t always mean starting a company, there are people on your team who are building departments, and building customer teams, building relationships. It feels different if you call that work a job. We need to put the whole country in a builder’s state of mind.
  2. Manage People Better. As a country, we’re just not that good at managing people. 30% of employees in America are engaged at work and that number has remained constant for the last 15 years, which means the practice of management hasn’t changed at all – despite everything we now know about employee engagement. This may be because many companies still work from a position of command and control. We need to switch to workplaces of high development. We need to change from being bosses to being coaches. Team leaders need to know what their people are good at, so they can differentiate according to people’s strengths and skills.
  3. Build your purpose around your strengths. Most of us are trying to get better by fixing our weaknesses, but that’s the wrong approach. We need to identify our strengths and build a life strategy around those.