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Building Future Fit Teams: 4.0 – Breaking the barriers

When I think about Industry 4.0, I like to think we are the next generation of great voyagers and explorers. We are the Vasco de Gama’s, the Jan van Riebeeck’s, setting off into this sea of uncertainty, heading off to make new discoveries and looking for ‘trade’ opportunities within this new world.

Like the first explorers and way finders, we are uncertain of what the world will look like beyond the horizon of 2020 or how to prepare ourselves for what we may discover. But what we are armed with, and what we have to continue improving on, are our navigation skills.

It is almost as if we have returned to the days when we had to navigate this unchartered territory by the stars.   We are the first cartographers of this new world and the only thing that will help us to orientate ourselves and find our way is to know our True North.

As I reflected on this I realised that what the Musk’s, Gates’s, Zuckerburg‘s, et all have in common is not only a strong vision but strong teams behind them.  Each member being perfectly aligned and committed to achieving that vision.  All orientating themselves around the teams True North.

I look at Elon Musk’s Starman, and every last detail was so carefully thought through, so magnificently created. Purposefully planned to tell a story, send a message. All of these details aligned to his vision, his true north. My question to you as leaders is:

Do you know your True North?

Have you taken the time to plan every detail?

Do you know what message you are wanting to send, the statement you are trying to make?

Are your teams aligned to this?

Do you believe you can achieve your vision?

To answer the questions above you have to master ‘self.’

To have the judgement and decision making skills required to navigate this world, you need to have a deep understanding of what makes you tick. You have to know the direction in which your gut is going to pull, what’s going to flip it inside out, and what information you will need to take bold steps forward.

As the first cartographers of this new world, what are we taking on our voyage of discovery?

Although we may not be prepared for what is out there or what we will encounter, we can prepare for how we will respond as we encounter it.  And just as those first Voyages were led, according to True North, we need to do the same now.

Every decision, every judgement we make must be based on our position in relation to our True North, our guiding star. Our teams need to know what this is so that they are equipped to navigate alongside us, especially when the seas get rough! They need to know what to steer towards.

For our teams to successfully move into the future, there needs to be alignment to a single purpose and every decision or judgement we make should be weighed carefully against this. Then it becomes easier for us and our teams to make better decisions, because we know how to weight them. Will they take us closer to our destination or are we charting off course?  This is the only way that we can increase our decision making and judgement skills as we move swiftly into this unknown. My question to you then, fellow voyagers and explorers, is …….. does your team know its true north or are they each setting sail in different directions?

When it comes to business, having sound judgement and being able to make good decisions has always been important.  However one could afford to go a little off course now and then as there would be at least some time between decision, action and result to adjust the trajectory.

These days we are in warp speed.  We are building the planes as we fly so to speak.   Therefore being able to make speedy, well thought through, gutful decisions is a key to the future. This is not great news for the analytics amongst us, and could spell disaster for those of us who act too quickly, led by Gut alone.

An important thing to focus on as leaders of the future is our ability to analyse, quickly!

We need to stay abreast of what is happening.  I like to think of it as being a constant ‘pre-analysis’

phase. So that when the time comes to act we can do so bravely, armed with enough intelligence about a situation to act with Gut.

This stands in contrast to what I am seeing in industry of late.   It seems as though Industry 4.0 has the majority of us caught like deer in headlights, staring at this blinding change almost in awe of it, but not knowing if we should run towards the light, or like the Trumps of this world turn and run in the opposite direction.  Do we not see this train coming? Are we still immobilised as it gets closer? We have to act. But the question is how?

Again it starts with you, you have to know yourself. What do you believe about this new world, do you think industry 4.0 is going to annihilate us or will it inspire us to be better humans? Will it make us take the development of our minds, our thinking and our judgement more seriously in future?

You have to know how you make decisions.  You have to know what you need to move you out of your paralysis, take the next step, make the decision to act.  And then you have to move forward.

Plotting alternate trajectories should be a hobby, because at the end of the day we don’t really know just how the world is going to change.

We need to embrace our decision making and judgements the way the Musk’s of the world do, bravely, intelligently and surrounded with a good team.

Hold your vision and then set the course.   Oh and keep an ice pack ready for the bruises along the way!

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