Women Worldwide Podcast Interview with the incredible Dierdre Breakenridge

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?

What is Your Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP)?

Purpose, Vision and the Future

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!

-Dr. Connie

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.

Understanding Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP)

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.

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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
  • Clearly focused
  • Unique to the company
  • Aimed at radical transformation
  • Forward-looking

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.

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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.

  1. TED: “Ideas worth spreading.”
  2. Google: “Organize the world’s information.”
  3. X Prize Foundation: “Bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.”
  4. 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.

How to begin creating an MTP

Peter Diamandis boils down two main areas of focus to identify your purpose:

  1. 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.
  2. 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)

ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS 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.

Download a checklist for writing your own MTP, and share your ideas with us @singularityhub

Image credit: Shutterstock

Innovation, Leadership & the Future of Healthcare

One of my favorite things to do is work with leaders who are eager to shape the future.  I especially enjoy working with leaders in the $3 trillion healthcare space.  Why?  Their world is being disrupted at an increasingly rapid pace, and many leaders in this important industry are doing what they can to innovate and shape the future.  I also appreciate the fact that women comprise a large portion (approximately 75%!) of the healthcare industry.    When I help hospitals and other other healthcare organizations reinvent their futures, I am helping female leaders, their families and their communities.  Thanks Western Healthcare Alliance and all involved for taking on this important conversation about leading innovation to help build a better future for all the people and communities your serve.

 

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The Future of Women & Megatrend 3: The Decentralized Global Marketplace

Business is in the age of the “Empowered Consumer” who has a buffet of buying choices. Empowered consumers decide how they want to purchase goods and services. Big Data [collecting information (data) from multiple sources to detect trends, identify patterns and make decisions] is one tool that can be used to develop marketing campaigns, study human behaviors and determine patterns. It is also being used to examine and redesign various areas of the consumer experience.

Entrepreneurs and leaders can use Big Data to capitalize on consumer patterns and demands while creating more customized consumer experiences. Data is collected with every click, and some metrics can be used almost immediately. In 2014, Black Friday was November 28. Data from IBM’s U.S. Retail Black Friday Report was available almost immediately and was published on December 2, 2014. According to IBM, online Black Friday sales grew by 9.5 percent from 2013 to 2014. Retail ecommerce (orders via computer) and mcommerce (orders via mobile device) are predicted to increase by double-digit margins well into 2018 (eMarketer, 2014). Data demonstrates the continued growth of the digital marketplace, and rural businesses must find ways to capitalize on these trends.

The world is fast-becoming an “Add to Cart” society for anything and everything. 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 commerce and communities in new and innovative ways.   The definition of community is not limited to a physical location. 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, and when, where and whether or not to meet face-to-face. They are also connecting around common causes. Commerce, along with so many other areas of life, is becoming increasingly decentralized. Savvy consumers seek and create value they crave to transform their lives. Technology enables the delivery of information, goods and services anytime, anywhere, and from anyone in a way that makes sense while adding value to the lives of consumers.

For example, companies like Stitch Fix (http://www.StitchFix.com) initially get to know their customers with a personal style quiz and continue to gather information about the clientele every month by sending them personalized clothing selections. Orders are delivered to clients and customers pay only for what they keep. Stitch Fix tracks the feedback on likes and dislikes after every shipment and learns how to better serve its customers with the data it continuously collects.

Consumer demands are shaping the marketplace and future trends. Empowered consumers want unique experiences that add value to their lives. Future-focused leaders and entrepreneurs 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.

Coaching Tips for Female Entrepreneurs and Leaders:

  • Connect and work together online and offline. Build your support network to generate ideas and get help growing your business.  The most successful entrepreneurs and leaders help one another.  I see this all of the time with authors too!  They promote one another while helping each other grow their businesses and ideas.
  • Get rid of assumptions and use data to make decisions. Take a few ideas from places having success in the marketplace, such as Stitch Fix.

Future-Focused Entrepreneurs and Leaders:  

Take Action with Cooperation, Creativity and Purpose

Interestingly enough, the hottest jobs at Facebook require a “human touch.” Why? Facebook is looking for people who can close sales because its revenue relies heavily on ads (Anders, 2014). Perhaps the most future-focused entrepreneurial leaders are blending “high human touch” with “high-tech” in new and interesting ways that holistically add value to the lives of others.

Future-focused, entrepreneurial leaders can use megatrends and technology to change the game of life. One person cannot do it alone in a world that continues to change at an increasingly rapid pace; rather, rural entrepreneurs should innovate in communities with a spirit of cooperation, creativity, and purpose. Together, with a common purpose, female entrepreneurs and leaders can examine megatrends, utilize emerging technologies, and monitor analytics while creating meaningful experiences and innovating rural businesses in ways not yet imagined.

Go Wild with the Decentralized Global Marketplace!   Watch the video below for more details on how you can innovate your companies and communities with cooperation, creating and purpose!

-Dr. Connie

PS:  Share your thoughts, ideas and actions with the Ask Dr. Connie community.  We would love to hear from you!

 

The Future of Women & Megatrend #2: Living with Purpose and Meaning

The tools and technologies that help people create their own businesses and design their lives in ways that best suit them, are also fueling Megatrend #2:  Living with Purpose and Meaning. Purposeful living is shaping everything from healthcare to education.

Our society is quickly evolving into an era characterized by shared purpose and meaning. Personal fulfillment is a growing trend in business and entrepreneurship. People are looking to decrease their levels of stress and strengthen their healthy habits while finding greater fulfillment.

Ben & Jerry’s is an example of a company that integrates purpose and meaning into its core existence by creating “linked prosperity” for everyone involved with the business. The company supports “linked prosperity” by establishing and aligning social, product and economic missions (benjerry.com/values).

The Living with Purpose and Meaning megatrend will continue to grow as the global population increases and places more demands on the planet’s limited natural resources. What does this mean for female entrepreneurs? They may be able to grow by connecting to people through purpose and meaning. Technology may be one way future-focused entrepreneurs can holistically add more purpose and meaning to the lives of both clients and employees.

For example, a forecast by Carbone and Nauth in The Futurist (2012) describes the evolution of the “cloud” from a repository or information to an intelligent resource that can help make decisions and provide assistance. They discuss the cloud evolving from a place to store data to an intelligent resource that will actively help people improve their lives:

Virtual agents will migrate from being an automated form of phone-based customer service to a personalized form of support and assistance that provides information and—more importantly—performs useful tasks. For example, such agents might design a weekly menu based on a family’s health profile, fitness goals, and eating preferences, and automatically order ingredients.

Weekly Menu

This forecast provides an example of how entrepreneurs can use technology to help their organizations innovate with a focus on the future. A transition from cloud-based computing to cloud-based living and learning is an opportunity for female entrepreneurs to create new profit centers and customer experiences while strengthening employee engagement in a more holistic manner.

Three trends supporting the Living with Purpose and Meaning megatrend include: 1) minimalism, 2) life increasingly flowing together instead of being compartmentalized into work, family, recreation, etc., and 3) the quest for greater well-being, health and vitality.

Minimalism is one of the trends shaping the Living with Purpose and Meaning megatrend because people are seeking less stuff and more life. Trend-setting places like the Silicon Valley have embraced minimalism, and this approach to living is influencing everything from living spaces, to workplaces and web design.

People are increasingly learning and living on the go in both the virtual and physical senses, which blurs the lines between family, self-care, work and play. Research has demonstrated that happiness is a precursor to success. These findings question the view that hard work will lead to success, which eventually leads to happiness. Raising levels of positivity in the present creates a “happiness advantage” in the brain, leading to better outcomes in the areas of education, business and well-being.  To learn more, check out Shawn Achor’s 2011 TED Talk:  The Happy Secret to Better Work.

How do these trends influence entrepreneurship? As more people want to connect with their purpose, find meaning in their lives, and increase their vitality, businesses and communities should take a more people-centered approach focused on meaning, well-being and the mind-body connection, supported by the right social networks, experiences and technologies. A few ideas might include:

  • Integrating holistic, healthy living and self-care principles into business practices in an effort to create better employee and customer experiences and to create more value in products and services.
  • Providing coaching for employees to help them uncover their purpose and to create strategies and structures to support meaningful actions designed to improve their careers and lives.
  • Adding physical activity and fun into the workday in an effort to stimulate creativity, decrease stress, build camaraderie and strengthen overall wellness. 

It’s time to focus on the whole person and what life means to each individual. Helping people find their fulfillment, purpose and definition of success may provide future-focused leaders and entrepreneurs with tools to innovate their organizations and communities. Businesses should find new ways to add increased value to the lives of customers, employees and families. People can choose where they want to work, shop and live. They also choose how to invest their time and money. Businesses that add the most value, including those in rural areas, will have the competitive advantage.

Coaching Tips for Female Entrepreneurs:

  1. Develop a clear purpose. Clarity of purpose creates a meaningful path to success. A great coaching tool to use: Create a vision board with your “why” in mind.
  2. Define core values. A business should develop core values that truly represent its brand. Empowered consumers connect with brands and businesses that have core values similar to their own. Outline the core values of your business and what each value means. A great strategic plan can evolve from clear core values. Create visual images for each value and make your values public. Share them with world. They help tell your story.
  3. Make self-care a priority. Physical, mental and spiritual health and well-being are all important. Successful entrepreneurs and their teams need time for creativity and a lot of energy to grow their ventures!
  4. Get positive. A positive mindset has been scientifically proven to support everything from creativity and innovation to increased sales and employee engagement.  If you need more help learning how to be more positive, begin coloring your way to happiness with Blue the Bee Learns to Be Happy! (Reimers-Hild and Wetizenkamp, 2015).

Blue the Bee Cover

  1. Practice gratitude. Keep a physical or digital journal and write in it daily.  Writing down 3-5 things you are grateful for everyday will help your brain focus on the positive while helping your notice new opportunities!
  2. Share the stories that enhance the brand with your team and your customers. Use social media platforms to create and present meaningful content worth reading and sharing. People connect with experiences and stories behind the products and services they use!
  3. HAVE FUN! Fun is absolutely invaluable. It decreases stress and improves relationship. Fun is also a foundation to creativity and innovation.  This is an area I expand upon in my first book, Go Wild with Confidence! (Reimers-Hild, 2013).

Check out the video below focusing on Megatrend 2:  Living with Purpose and Meaning.  And, let us know what you are doing to improve your life.

Go Wild with Your Future! And, as always-Be YOU and Do Something Cool!

-Dr. Connie

Megatrend 3: Decentralized Global Marketplace

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.

Innovation Retreat: New Ideas and New Dollars on April 29!
As educators, what is the value we can add to a lifetime?

Future-Focused Leadership: Three Mega-Trends Influencing Distance Learning

My most recent paper, Future-Focused Leadership:  Three Mega-Trends Influencing Distance Learning, will be published in the conference proceedings of the 2014 Distance Learning Administration Conference (Woo Hoo!). I am also preparing a keynote for the North Central Leadership Conference (to be held in Omaha, NE next month).

Both the paper and the keynote will focus on the future, so I am going to publish a series of blog posts on a few mega trends shaping distance learning.  Examining diverse insights is one of the best ways to study trends. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts, ideas and future thinking!  I would love to hear from you!

Go Wild with the Future!

-Dr. Connie

Now (drum roll please), for the first entry on Future-Focused Leadership:  Three Mega-Trends Influencing Distance Learning

While many continue to question the skyrocketing costs and value of a college education, future-focused leaders are recreating learning experiences by blending technology with the human experience.  What does the future of distance learning look like, taste like and feel like? It can be difficult to predict the future of education as the world continues to evolve at an increasingly rapid pace; however, distance learning administrators can use a future-focused leadership approach, which includes examining megatrends, to plan for the future.  Megatrends are global shifts that influence society, the economy and the environment. This series of blog posts will touch on three megatrends shaping the future of distance learning: 1) The Rise of the #GigEconomy, 2) Living with Purpose and Meaning and 3) The Decentralized Marketplace.

Jag eye spy
Leaders (at every age) should keep an eye on the future!

What Exactly is a Megatrend?

According to Dictionary.com, a megatrend is, “a large-scale change in circumstances or fashion.”

The next series of blog posts will focus on megatrends in distance and online learning.  Why?  Education, like all industries, is undergoing a dramatic shift.  It is really important to study the megatrends, or large shifts, to plan for, anticipate and even create change.  Megatrends can help us decide which road to take and where to invest our precious resources-especially when the path seems a bit flooded and unclear!  The megatrends in this series will be helpful to people working in a variety of industries ranging from education to entrepreneurship and healthcare.  The only hint I will give is this:  Fun will be included in the series!

Please add your thoughts, ideas and views on current megatrends.  I would love to hear from you!

Go Wild with Megatrends!

-Dr. Connie

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