Leaders who have a futurist mindset are a minority on most teams.
According to a recent study, about 1 in 5 leaders has a Futurist mindset. That means only 20% of leaders are:
· ready to lean into the future of work,
· gifted in casting a powerful vision about the future,
· focused on creating shareholder value for the short- and long-term,
· actively creating hope among stakeholders for a better future, and
· willing to take smart risks to out innovate the competition.
If you want to win by leveraging your most future-forward leaders, you better know how to find those with this powerful minority mindset.
What is the Futurist Mindset?
The Futurist mindset is a mental filter that shapes a leaders’ thoughts, feelings, and actions. This mindset is characterized by a deep openness to possibilities and a relentless focus on future potential.
Team members who have a Futurist mindset have a strong vision about what’s on the horizon, what could be, and Futurists aren’t afraid to take healthy risks to turn their vision into reality.
Given the state of uncertainty and change in organizations these days, finding leaders with a knack for spotting future opportunities is a true advantage for teams and organizations.
The Futurist Mindset isn’t just an abstract idea, it can be measured. According to a recent study of more than 500 executives and entrepreneurs that I conducted, only about 20% of leaders have a strong Futurist mindset.
Given this advancement in mindset science, you are now able to pinpoint minority and majority mindsets on your team and organization. This science equips managers, trainers, and coaches with tools to work with teams in an entirely different way to plan and prepare for the future.
Understanding the unique perspectives, talents, and behaviors of leaders with different mindset types changes how leaders lead, how teams communicate, and, ultimately, the results that teams achieve.
Measuring Minority Mindsets
I've spent my entire career studying human performance and putting measures around hard-to-measure human factors in organizations. And for the last four years I've led an independent study of leadership mindsets and how they impact leader and team performance.
Having previously worked with the Gallup organization on tools such as Clifton StrengthsFinder, the Q12 employee engagement survey, and other breakthrough leadership assessments, my Future Focus Mindset assessment is the first scientific measure of leadership mindsets for the future of work.
Finding Your Most Future-Focused Leaders
The first step to winning with the minority mindsets on your team is to name them. The Future Focus system helps you name what kind of mindset you and others on your team have about the future.
Specifically, my research has identified five types of future-focused mindsets called: Historian, Observer, Opportunist, Innovator, and Futurist. According to my research, 65% of leaders fall into the mindsets in the middle (Observer, Opportunity, and Innovator), making Historians and Futurists among the mindset minority on most teams.
Measuring your Future Focus Mindset, and learning how it helps or hinders your performance, is the first step toward leveraging each of the Future Focus Mindsets on your team, and truly building a future-ready team.
Learning from the Minority Mindsets on Your Team
Once you’ve identified what the majority and minority mindsets on your team are, the next step is to learn from the minority perspectives.
Let’s say your team follows the normal “bell curve” distribution of mindsets that my recent study confirms. If Futurists or Historians are among the minority on your team, here are some practical actions that you can take to learn from them:
1. What do they think the future holds for your team / organization?
2. What growth opportunities they see?
3. What keeps them up at night? What are they worried about?
4. What risks do they feel the team should be taking?
5. What goals or priorities should the team be focused on in the next 90 days, 12 months, and 24 months?
Similar questions can be used to tap the potential of the other four Future Focus mindsets on your team, regardless of whether they are minority or minority mindsets on your team.
To learn more about each of the five Future Focus Mindset, you can take the assessment and enroll in the Quickstart Course here.
The future is always uncertain — let’s face it, no one has a crystal ball. However, a rare minority of leaders have a unique ability to interpret signals about the future that most of us ignore. By tapping into this rare and valuable minority perspective, leaders and their teams can better prepare for the future of work and win big together.