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Future Shaper

How Leaders Can Take Charge in an Uncertain World

By Niamh O'Keeffe
15-minute read
Audio available
Future Shaper by Niamh O'Keeffe

Future Shaper (2020) describes the challenges leaders face in an increasingly fast-paced and technologically driven world. It’s the ultimate manual for leaders seeking to improve their leadership skills, embrace new ideas and innovations, and prepare for the future.

  • Business leaders stuck in a traditional way of thinking
  • Novice entrepreneurs wanting to learn the ins-and-outs of leadership
  • Future leaders entering the business world on the cusp of the digital revolution

Niamh O’Keeffe is a leadership advisor with over 25 years’ experience in strategy consulting, head-hunting, and executive coaching. In 2004, she founded First100, a leadership and performance-acceleration consultancy. She’s also the author of First 100 Days: How to Make Maximum Impact in Your New Leadership Role. 

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Future Shaper

How Leaders Can Take Charge in an Uncertain World

By Niamh O'Keeffe
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Future Shaper by Niamh O'Keeffe
Synopsis

Future Shaper (2020) describes the challenges leaders face in an increasingly fast-paced and technologically driven world. It’s the ultimate manual for leaders seeking to improve their leadership skills, embrace new ideas and innovations, and prepare for the future.

Key idea 1 of 9

We live in an uncertain world, and businesses are under threat.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but the world we live in is increasingly unstable. At times, it can feel overwhelming just watching the morning news, with its headlines about climate change, corruption, terrorism, populism, and other global ills.

Compounding this unsettling instability, rapid advances in technology are changing – well – everything. 

Here’s the key message: We live in an uncertain world, and businesses are under threat.

Global society is entering the fourth industrial revolution – an age defined by new scientific and technological breakthroughs. These breakthroughs include artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain technology, and precision medicine, each of which is transforming our world in a number of ways.

For starters, these new technologies are disrupting industries. For example, the emergence of digital banks in the financial industry has forced traditional banks to upgrade their online services in order to compete.

Then, there’s AI – self-driving cars, for example – which is challenging and changing how we live and work.

While the digital revolution promises endless opportunities for businesses, it’s also created a feeling of global instability. Technology is unsettling territory: it poses new risks, raises ethical concerns, and serves as a reminder of the future’s unpredictability. 

That’s why being a leader in 2020 is tougher than ever. CEOs and management teams are on what the author calls “constant threat alert,” where they have to anticipate changes, be creative, and constantly pivot to keep their companies afloat. 

For instance, many brick-and-mortar shops have made their merchandise available online to accommodate their customers’ digital shopping habits. And those shops that haven’t may soon find themselves out of business.

The problem is, if you’re a leader on constant threat alert, you’ll never have the time to step back and learn the leadership skills that will help you navigate today’s relentless, ever-changing business environment. 

For businesses to survive these uncertain times, they’ll need their leaders to take control, empower their teams, and be steadfast in the face of overwhelming challenges.

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