I recently took the opportunity to send one of my clients and one of my youngest entrepreneurial friends a good book: “Ready? The 3Rs of Preparing Your Organization for the Future” by Thomas Malnight , Tracey Keys and Kees van der Graaf. The book is both an incredible eye-opener and an utter blast to read. Concise, short and to the point and loaded with good practices and examples.
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The shortest possible summary of the book is that we need to get ready to bridge the gap from where we are now, to where our companies and institutions need to be in the future. Sounds self evident, right? Well, Malnight makes a very strong case that our short-term thinking and other factors keep us much more mired in current circumstances and priorities than we want to admit. “Thinking back from the future to the here-and-now” is a great strategy to counteract this.
To think back from the future, Malnight suggests us to adopt three R’s:
1. Rethink your playing field: building on holistic awareness of trends reshaping the future
2. Redefine your ambition: building an aligned, shared point of view of the future - as a basis for shaping decisions
3. Reshape how you work: building the courage, capacity and commitment to a continual change journey
Thomas Malnight II HD  "I have a strong belief in executives to make decisions, but I have a worry that we don’t provide the environment for them to do so” Thomas Malnight                
Following through on Malnight’s line of thinking I joined the incredible ATD session of Yvette Montero Salvatico on the future of talent. Her session literally blew me away and it couldn’t have been a more apt follow-up Malnight’s 3 R’s. Here’s the gist of Yvette’s story, copied - as is - from the synopsis of her ATD session:
Companies in the future will have two key assets to manage—technological infrastructure and human capital—with an increasing overlap between the two. We are all familiar with cloud computing, which provides the ability to share, store, and deliver computing services over the Internet in real-time. In the future, the concept of the cloud will jump from software to wetware, resulting in open-source talent sharing that creates a "people cloud." In this world work will be shared, collaboration around the globe will be instantaneous, and cloud employees will simultaneously work for multiple enterprises on a variety of projects. Access to assets will trump ownership of assets, and traditional employment may soon be seen as an Industrial Age relic. The essence of the people cloud is rooted in the emerging pattern of work becoming more social. As boundaries between internal and external social networks continue to blur, companies have begun to embrace the wisdom of crowds to execute their business strategies. The people cloud will give rise to not only a new approach to the employee lifecycle, but a new way of doing business altogether. 
According to Yvette’s vision, what will this people cloud look like?
⁃ work is becoming more social and technology is enabling new ways of working together across cultures, countries and boundaries
⁃ by 2020 half the global talent pool will be available to companies located anywhere in the world. In order to remain competitive, companies will need to cast wider nets in that global talent pool
⁃ information has moved from paid to open & freely available
⁃ it’s not that we have a shortage of talent, it’s that we’re 
⁃ mobile is the way: as of Q4 2013 80% of Africa’s 1 Billion looking at it the wrong way population had a mobile phone 
⁃ this impact of combining people and technology will continue to grow with the increased advancement in computing power and widespread proliferation of mobile devices
⁃ venture capital has never been more available, but crowdsourcing trumps it
Yvette Montero Salvatico     “Companies are not making big decisions: they’re waiting for the bus back to normal” Yvette Montero Salvatico 
So, dear readers, what are your views of your (company’s) future? What can you do to create that future? What does your visualisation look like and what map have you drawn to bring you towards your aspirations? I’m asking these probing questions, because I believe that talents in our companies and institutions play a pivotal role in bringing about the future as we aspire it to be. But, really, do we put them in the position to do so: do we offer them time, approval, influence and leverage to play that role? Are we? Are you?
PS: I asked Yvette for a favour after attending her session. As you know from my earlier posts, I work actively with both potentials and executive talents. I asked Yvette whether she could offer some perspectives on the future of talent. Here she comes! (thanks again Yvette for your incredible contribution!).