I recently had the privilege of being interviewed by Dierdre Breakenridge. Dierdre is a PR guru, entrepreneur, teacher, author and awesome person! Learn more about Dierdre and her work by going to her web site: https://www.deirdrebreakenridge.com/
We had a million things we could have talked about in this episode of Women Worldwide; however, we ended up talking about futuring, the importance of a vision and how to have fun while pursuing your desired future! Check out this episode Women Worldwide and join Deirdre’s mission to advance a global conversation designed to help women succeed in business and in life.
Futuring – What is it and Why Do You Need It In Your Business?
I have to admit that I was super excited to do an interview with Nicole Jansen as part of her Leaders of Transformation Podcast. We talk about the future, the importance of a vision and how work and leadership are evolving; however, my biggest moment was actually diving into my own transition! I have not said or written a lot about why and how I left a twenty-five year career to pursue my own desired future. Honestly, it has been a hard to talk about for a number of reasons. We discuss it a bit in this interview, and it felt awesome just to voice my truth as well as my new adventure in midlife!
Enjoy the show, and let me know what you think! I would love to know what topics you want to know more about in the future. Make sure to download the free
Start creating your desired future today by enjoy the Dream Life 2025 exercise that is mentioned in podcast! After you complete the Dream Life 2025 exercise, let me know what your desired future looks like in the comments section below!
Want to start thinking like a Futurist? Then, try this Dream Life 2025 coaching exercise!
I developed this exercise for people who listen to the Leaders of Transformation podcast with Nicole Jansen. Strategic foresight is now a core leadership competency, and Nicole and I had a great chat about how all of us can develop a futurist mindset.
If you are going to think like a Futurist, then it is important to focus on your own future first! This exercise is designed to do just that-help you think about your ideal future. This same type of exercise can be done with teams, departments or even whole organizations. Give it a try and let me know what your dream future looks, feels and even smells like!
It is important to clarify and begin living like you have already achieved your ideal future if you are truly going to achieve it. There are multiple futures, and the outcome that actually occurs happens because of both your mindset and the methodologies you use to get there.
How can you cultivate a Futurist Mindset? And, why is this approach to life so important?
According to Jake, a few of the top takeaways from our episode focused on cultivating a futurist mindset include:
Futurists help leaders and people better understand the future, and being a Futurist is a real thing! Universities have teaching courses, degrees and certifications in strategic foresight (my certificate is from the University of Houston).
We create our future in the present moment.
Achieving your desired future is possible. How? You must combine methodology with mindset. One of the first steps includes knowing what preferred future you want to achieve and experience. You can do this by creating a Vivid Visual Vision, which blends fun with the future:
In 3-5 years out what do you want to do and experience?
Use Crayons, Paints, any medium to make the vision as vivid as possible – make it your own whole brain, whole soul process
Get below the surface and become very self-aware and honest about your future
Proactively pause and find out what you want – step away from the demand and create a new model – become mindful
Listen to this episode of the Modern Leadership Podcast with Jake Carlson to learn more! Click on the link below and enjoy the show!
Purpose and vision are two key elements when creating and living your desired future. Individuals and organizations investing in transformation must make the time explore and clearly define their purpose and their vision. It is an important first step in my futuring and coaching process and is especially important for women (and men) who find themselves in new, and many times unexpected, stages and ages of life.
One of my top Strengths is Learner, and I am always interested in learning more about ways to help clients dive into their inner and outer worlds worlds. I am in the last of three online strategic foresight courses offered by Singularity University, and I am really excited about their lesson on developing what they call the Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP).
I am sitting at my computer working on my new and improved MTP right now (aka my homework). The great thing about this assignment is that I can use and apply the information in my own life. It is the end of 2018, and I have fresh, global perspectives that are making me think differently about my business. New opportunities are popping up everyone, and I need to decide where to focus my time and talents. I am looking forward to walking through this process – not just for my homework – but to improve my work and life as well!
Take a look at the process below and share your MTP’s with me. I would love to hear from all of you!!
Go Wild and Share Your MTP!
Eradicating diseases, mastering flight, near-instant global communication, going to the moon—humans have developed a taste for making the impossible possible.Though we still face a daunting list of global challenges, we’ve learned that science and technology can uncover big solutions. But mind-blowing breakthroughs don’t just happen. They take teams of bright and dedicated people chipping away at the problem day and night. They take a huge amount of motivation, toil, and at least a few failures.To solve our biggest problems, we need people to undertake big tasks. But what drives someone to take on such a difficult, uncertain process and stick with it?There’s a secret to motivating individuals and teams to do great things: It’s purpose.Social movements, rapidly growing organizations, and remarkable breakthroughs in science and technology have something in common—they’re often byproducts of a deeply unifying purpose. There’s a name for this breed of motivation.It’s called massive transformative purpose or MTP.Setting out to solve big problems brings purpose and meaning to work—it gives us a compelling reason to get out of bed in the morning and face another day.Peter Diamandis likes to say, “Find something you would die for, and live for it.”The more we organize around massive transformative purpose, the harder we’ll work, the more dedicated we’ll be, the faster we can solve big problems—and maybe most importantly, the more fulfilled we’ll feel about the work we do.This article will explore ideas we’ve learned from some of our favorite big thinkers on what makes an MTP and how to find and implement yours.
In 2014, Salim Ismail published Exponential Organizations, co-authored by Mike Malone and Yuri van Geest. In the book, the team analyzed the 100 fastest growing organizations and synthesized their key traits. They discovered every single company on the list had a massive transformative purpose.
In the simplest sense, an MTP is a “highly aspirational tagline” for an individual or group, like a company, organization, community, or social movement.
It’s a huge and audacious purpose statement.
Elon Musk and SpaceX are a good example for understanding MTPs. Musk didn’t found SpaceX to have a luxurious retirement on Mars or just for the sake of building the most profitable aerospace company. He’s driven by the belief humans must become a multi-planetary species. Making this a reality is his purpose.
SpaceX’s MTP to revolutionize space technology and enable people to live on another planet creates a shared aspirational purpose within the organization.
Notice that SpaceX’s MTP is:
Huge and aspirational
Unique to the company
Aimed at radical transformation
MTPs are not representative of what’s possible today; they’re aspirational and focused on creating a different future. This aspirational element is what ignites passion in individuals and groups; it’s what engages people’s hearts and minds to work together to realize their goal.
SpaceX’s MTP does this so well that they’ve also activated a cultural shift outside of the company’s walls, which is a secondary effect of having a strong MTP.
Other examples Ismail, Malone, and van Geest note in their book include the massive lines that form when Apple releases a new iPhone or the huge waitlist each year to get a seat at TED’s annual conference.
MTPs can inspire whole communities and evangelists to form around them.
Four examples of strong massive transformative purposes
As you read through these examples try to identify how each one fulfills each letter of MTP.
TED: “Ideas worth spreading.”
Google: “Organize the world’s information.”
X Prize Foundation: “Bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.”
Tesla: “Accelerate the transition to sustainable transportation.”
Hopefully, this helps explain what an MTP is. But there are other kinds of motivating messages out there. What distinguishes an MTP from all the rest?
An MTP is not:
Just a company’s mission statement.
Technology specific or narrowly focused.
Representative of what is possible today.
Motivated only by profits.
Just a big goal or even a “big hairy audacious goal.” (It must also be driven by a purpose to create transformative impact.)
A successful MTP can often be reframed into a question. That question can then be used to evaluate organizational decisions and whether they’re aligned with the MTP. For example, if the organization TED is deciding whether to move forward with a talk they can ask, “Is this an idea worth spreading?”
The competitive advantages of an MTP
Having an MTP can trigger incredible outcomes, which is why high-growth organizations all tend to have them.
The aspirational quality of an MTP pushes teams to prioritize big thinking, rapid growth strategies, and organizational agility—and these behaviors all have substantial payoffs in the long term.
As an MTP harnesses passion within an organization, it also galvanizes a community to form outside the company that shares the purpose. This sparks an incredible secondary impact by helping organizations attract and retain top qualified talent who want to find mission-driven work and remain motivated by the cause.
Additionally, when people are aligned on purpose, it creates a positive feedback loop by channeling intrinsic motivation towards that shared purpose.
Finally, like a north star, an MTP keeps all efforts focused and aligned, which helps organizations grow cohesively. As the organization evolves and scales, the MTP becomes a stabilizer for employees as they transition into new territory.
Identify the who: Ask yourself who you want to impact. What community do you want to create a lasting positive impact for? Is it high school students? The elderly? People suffering a chronic disease? These are just a few examples of potential groups to focus your purpose towards.
Identify the what: What problem do you want to take on and solve? Here’s an exercise created by Diamandis to identify the “what” of your purpose:
Step one: Write down the top three items you are most excited about or get you most riled up (that you want to solve).
Step two: For each of the three problems listed above, ask the following six questions and score each from 1-10.
(1 = small difference; 10 = big difference)
1. If at the end of your life you had made a significant dent in this area, how proud would you feel?
2. Given the resources you have today, what level of impact could you make in the next three years if you solved this problem?
3. Given the resources you expect to have in 10 years, what level of impact could you make in a 3-year period?
4. How well do I understand the problem?
5. How emotionally charged (excited or riled up) am I about this?
6. Will this problem get solved with or without you involved?
TOTAL = Add up your scores and identify the idea with the highest score. This is your winner for now. Does this one intuitively feel right to you?
Have an MTP? Here’s what to do next
Realizing an MTP requires a different type of thinking. It requires a mindset and work environment that leans into complex problems and dares to think big—really big.
SpaceX isn’t where they are today because they focused on making 10% improvements to existing aerospace technology. And Google’s self-driving car isn’t the byproduct of a goal to make a 10% improvement to driving.
10% thinking leads to incremental progress, which doesn’t lead to making the impossible possible—like sending people to the moon.
Through history, however, we’ve learned that radically big thinking can lead to these types of breakthroughs.
You have the recipe for creating a massive transformative purpose to push you and your organization to the next level of performance and impact.
Now, it’s time to get to work.
Distance learning is in the age of the “Empowered Consumer-Learner” who has a buffet of educational choices. The empowered consumer-learner decides what educational experiences and knowledge they need, when they need it and how they want to experience it. The wide-array of non-credit and for credit choices makes for a very competitive marketplace but also a field of new opportunities.
Venture capitalists continue to invest in distance education because of the return on investment potential. Big Data is being used to develop marketing campaigns, study human behaviors and determine patterns. It is also being used to examine various areas of teaching and learning. Data can help create bite-sized, customized courses and programs that are both personalized and interactive (Koller, 2012). Technology enables the delivery of information and education anytime, anywhere and from anyone in a way that makes sense to the learner while adding value to their lives.
It’s no longer necessary for people to enroll in college, formal classes or workshops to learn. They are learning what they want to know from their networks and resources they find on the Web, through Apps or in iTunes. People will increasingly be able to create and print their ideas from wherever they choose with 3D printing. Technology, combined with the continued growth of self-expression and meaning, will continue to change education at a rapid pace.
Value is becoming less about college credit and more about meaningful outcomes and self-expression through enhanced skills and evolving abilities. The world is fast-becoming an “Add to Cart” society for anything and everything, including educational experiences. Individuals are creating local, national and global communities of meaning and change that are self-selected and self-formed. Many of these same individuals are transforming distance learning in new and innovative ways. Technology, combined with the need for meaning, self-expression and self-actualization, has created an increasingly decentralized marketplace.
People are choosing how to meet virtually, when, where and whether-or-not to meet face-to-face and connecting over common causes. Education, along with so many other areas of life, is becoming increasingly decentralized. Savvy consumers seek and create the value they crave to transform their lives. They are choosing whether or not they want a badge, certificate, credit hour or degree, and their demands are shaping the marketplace and future trends. The Empowered Consumer-Learner wants a unique experience that adds value to their life. Future-focused leaders who ask and answer not, “What is the lifetime value of a customer?” but rather, “What value can we add to a lifetime?” will be in a better position to compete in the increasingly decentralized marketplace.
The rise of the entrepreneurial individual, and what is currently referred to as the Gig Economy, will create new challenges and opportunities for distance learning administrators. How can institutions of education help learners create value for traditional employers and for their individual brands? If not as many people are investing in education to land a full-time job, what does this mean for higher education?
An emerging trend, the rise of global joblessness (International Labour Office, 2014), is supporting the growth of the Gig Economy while creating a need for the marketing of talents and skills in new and meaningful ways. The number of large employers is predicted to shrink in the future causing people to find new and inventive ways to make a living. The ability to sell, purchase and promote goods and services as well as individual brands on the Web has created a need for education to add value to the lives of learners in innovative ways. People are increasingly defining success for themselves, which does not always include a college degree and a 9-5 job. In many ways, it is now much cooler to be a successful start-up entrepreneur, famous blogger or YouTube sensation than a person working in a full-time job.
One common denominator will remain the same: People need to be found on the already crowded World Wide Web. They have to build their brands and levels of influence to strengthen both credibility and success. Educational institutions should keep a close eye on the rise of businesses like Fiverr.com and the use of Twesumes (Twitter + Resume = Twesume = a resume in 140 characters or less) to land jobs or gigs (thus, the #GigEconomy).
Leaders should also consider building their brands, as well as those of students, faculty and alumni. The rise of social networks and technology has enabled people to both learn and teach at anytime from any place. These same tools have helped people create their own businesses and design their lives in ways that best suit them, which supports the Living with Purpose and Meaning megatrend. Life purpose is shaping everything from healthcare to education.
It’s the perfect day for writing. The snow is falling and the new year is full of positive energy and gratitude!
If you are contemplating your resolutions or goals for 2014, my updated SMARTER Intentions and Authentic Goals Coaching Guide may be of use. It is designed to help get you started or to help you refine what you may have already established.
Intentions influence our actions and behaviors. If intentions are established with awareness, truth, and meaning, they help us experience a life filled with passion and personal fulfillment. Lack of understanding around our true intentions often causes frustration and confusion, which is one reason people oftentimes do not achieve their goals. Many goals are written; however, they are not established with honest intent. It’s time to get brutally honest about your true intentions so you can achieve authentic goals.
Intentions have the power to strengthen your Inner Leader and help you move forward in a meaningful way as long as they represent what you truly want to accomplish and experience. Honest intentions, based on personal fulfillment and purpose, can also keep you motivated and focused while measuring progress and celebrating success.
What we truly intend will happen, so I use this coaching guide to encourage my clients to create SMARTER Intention Statements that support their personal vision. So, what exactly are SMARTER Intentions? They are statements designed to help you achieve your vision while holding your accountable and having some fun along the way because they are Super Cool, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Bound, Evolved, and Rewarded.
The SMARTER Intentions and Authentic Goals coaching guide can easily be downloaded via the web by going to the University of Nebraska Extension Kimmel Education and Research Center Digital Commons site. Simply click on: SMARTER Intentions and Authentic Goals.
Go Wild with your SMARTER Intentions and have a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!
It has been too long since my last post, but I have been super-sonic focused! I had to re-examine a few things in my life over the last month and have been crazy-busy making life happen! I gave a keynote at the South Dakota Marketplace conference, Creative Confidence: Leading Yourself and Your Business, and it felt great! It was the keynote I had playing in my head for years, and the MarketPlace conference was the perfect venue in which to launch it! I also taught a workshop, The Visual Vision: Grow Your Bottom Line & Your Life, during the last afternoon of the conference. Great energy filled the room!!! People all left with a vision of where they want to go and what they want to experience. There were a number of great breakthroughs. One woman finally identified the concept for her children’s book, which she had been working on for quite awhile. Another young man (who struggled with drawing at the beginning) came up with the vision for his welding company. There were so many great discoveries in this class. Cool things always happen when you blend Super-Sonic Focus Time with scented markers, crayons, and fun! Thanks to everyone who worked hard to make the conference a success. A very BIG THANK YOU to my good friend and founder of eVentures Marketing, Shawnna Silvius, for hooking me up with the folks in South Dakota. After returning from the great state of South Dakota, I turned in a grant pre-proposal for a web-based talk show, had a job interview, and turned in my final book manuscript!! My first book, Go Wild with Confidence!, should be available soon!! Whoo Hoo…it was a busy October! I also attended my cousin’s wedding and had some Halloween fun with my family. A great month and a great life! Be You & Do Something Cool! -Dr. Connie
Shawnna and I at the world’s only corn palace. It’s a must-see in Mitchell, South Dakota!
Ahh…Creating Priceless Vision and Mission Statements…one of my favorite programs to customize for individuals, businesses and organizations!!
Mark Hutchison, my colleague at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and fellow Gallup EAS Guide, referred Dan and his management to me. They needed some help creating a priceless and powerful vision/mission statement. They wanted one statement that said it all, and they did it:
I’m Serving People, Cows & the Planet.
Congratulations to Praireland for committing to developing and using a Vision/Mission that is unique to their values and aspirations. The Prairieland team dug in and did the work. Now, their hard work is paying off…big time!
Dan and I holding up the t-shirts Prairieland made for all of their employees. The shirt serves as a reminder their very memorable and focused vision/mission, “I’m Serving People, Cows & the Planet.”
A big THANK YOU to Dan Rice for writing this glowing testimonial:
Prairieland Dairy is a rapidly growing company, and was looking for a way to share the goals, vision, and excitement of the company with their employees and owners. Through recommendation from a University of Nebraska mentor we contacted Connie Reimers-Hild at theUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, Kimmel Education & Research Center. She hosted a retreat that the Management of Prairieland Dairy attended. As she led us through the process of looking to the future and seeing what we want to be and how to get there, it became clear to us what our vision, Mission, and values really are. At the end of the day we had a Mission Vision and values statement that everyone on our team can identify with and get behind. I’m grateful for the assistance we received and the leadership Connie brought to our process. I highly recommend her services to anyone looking to help their company move clearly into the future.