When we think about the future, many of us see more of this:


In business, we certainly find chaos everywhere these days.

Not only are people losing their jobs, they’re losing their retirement and their sense of stability. The large corporation, yesterday’s bulwark of job security, doesn’t provide “loyalty” as a perk of employment any longer. New technologies replace tasks people used to do. College grads exit universities with passionate plans to change the world and instead of a job, find themselves back in their parents’ basement. Even fields like doctoring and lawyering, specialties adults used to pray for their child to choose, don’t carry the guarantee they used to.

The tectonic shift in today’s workplace is taking prisoners from everything. Nothing is safe.

Every year as I travel, speak, write, and consult, I talk with hundreds of wonderful people. And the pattern of these conversations is remarkably similar. Once we get past formalities, sometimes after a few drinks, an unsettling sentiment gets unearthed. In their slightly more vulnerable moments, they share that when it comes to work they feel like the ground is eroding from under their feet, like sand rushing back to the depths as the ocean recedes.

No one seems to know why or how the world is changing exactly, only that it most certainly is.

The next part of the dialogue is equally predictable. Because they don’t know why or how things are changing, fear paralyzes the conversation from going any further. Defense mechanisms kick in and a joke is made, or the subject is stealthily changed. It’s far easier to bury the problem. Ignore it. We’re all in the same boat, right? Like they say: prediction is extremely difficult—especially about the future. Nobody knows what’s coming.

This would be fine, except the future doesn’t work like that.

We have this notion that “the future” is a specific destination point, the big red ending dot on some kind of metaphysical map.

But this isn’t true.

The future is just the culmination of the millions of tiny decisions we—all of us humans—are collectively making right now, at this very instant, all across the world. By reading this book, you are changing the future. How? By spending your time here instead of doing something else somewhere else.

The future isn’t a static destination we will someday “arrive at.” It is a continually evolving entity, shaped like clay by billions of pairs of human hands, all across the globe, all the time.

To a very real extent, we make the future whatever it will be by what we do now.

This is why it’s so important that we find a way to finish the scary discussion started above. It is with these conversations that we are literally creating the future of the world.

So why shouldn’t we create a better one?

Research firms like The Gallup Organization and Towers Perrin find regularly that somewhere around two-thirds of Americans are not engaged in their jobs. A 2011 report from Deloitte found that 79% of people employed by a company are not passionate about what they do.

This is a catastrophic waste. It is a waste of human time and talent, and it is a waste of energy that could be used productively in our organizations.

And we know it.

Companies spend a huge amount of money on personal development and individual training trying to fix this problem. But much of it never changes anything, at least not in a major way—if it did, we’d see more movement in the above statistics.

Is it possible that the solution isn’t in the training, but in how we’ve structured the tribe?



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