Chapter 5. The Do Loop – The Eight Skills of Adaptive Foresight

Skill 7. Relating (Team thinking).

This type of foresight thinking involves understanding and fulfilling the needs of the team. This may be your production team, your organization, or the client team. Good relating begins with emotional intelligence among leaders and managers, a topic discussed in Chapter 2. Managing distrust and fear, the two creativity-killers mentioned under innovation, is also key to good relating.

Stress management is also important. Every team needs both its sprints and its recoveries, as Schwartz explains well in Be Excellent at Anything (2011). In its highest form, the relating skill can become what Robert Greenleaf calls Servant Leadership (2012), an empowering and ethical approach to management that gives your people the freedom to innovate and to fail, yet also requires that they learn from their mistakes, via good reviewing (Skill 8).

For organizations, the main relating specialties are Human Resources & Performance Management, and related HR topics including Compensation, Incentives, Ethics, Culture, and Employee Engagement. The relating skill also includes the firm’s non-marketing relationships with its external stakeholders, what we might call issue or image performance management, including Communications, Public Relations, and Corporate Social Responsibility. The Issue Management Council is a professional association for issue management, where issues are defined as the gap between organizational actions and stakeholder expectations.

image181Some might argue that Performance Management fits better under the Execution skill, but I think that treatment would be insufficiently respectful of the role of sustaining relationships in organizations.

The reality of organizational life is that with your team, relationships will always come first, whether leaders recognize this fact or not. The quality of organizational relationships will largely determine how the team and company are perceived. Relationship-building and maintaining is thus the fundamental human performance skill.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the leading US practitioner community in this specialty. It offers certifications including Professional in Human Resources, which might help any foresight professional working to maximize their impact with this skill. Reed and Bogardus’ PHR/SPHR, 2012, is a popular study guide for those certifications. SHRM also offers their own prep.

In all relationships, it can also be valuable to think, in very simple terms, about game theory, a topic that is also relevant to strategy. The best relationships strive to create positive sum (win-win) and minimize zero-sum (win-lose, adversarial) interactions among all those in the group. A great book on this topic, providing a big picture view of relationships throughout civilization, is Robert Wright’s Nonzero (2000). Wright points out that social “games” like personal and group ethics, capitalism, and democracy, all seek to structure competition and cooperation in ways that create measurable positive outcomes for the group.

Fair competition with incentives can be greatly energizing to any group. But nothing will kill a team’s performance faster than rules, policies or mandates that are widely perceived as arbitrary or unfair. Leaders must continually adjust their policies and incentives for perceived fairness, and keep the manager-employee relationship central, even more than the rules. Stack’s The Great Game of Business (2013) also stresses this perspective, and is an excellent primer on tools for constant reviewing (Skill 8).

Performance management is a specialty of HR and organizational development that focuses on firm, team, and employee performance. The KPI Institute (KPII) is a leading practitioner community. They offer certifications in many management practices, including Benchmarking (best practices), Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), a subset of benchmarking focused on firm performance, and Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), which empower employees to set their own performance objectives, in a bottom-up manner, and help each other achieve them. A good book describing Google’s people operations practices, which includes Benchmarking, KPIs and internally visible OKRs for each employee, and how to use them with your teams and clients, is Laszlo Bock’s Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google to Transform How You Live and Lead (2015).

Stephen Covey’s books are some of the best I know in general professional development, and they are particularly strong in relationship building. Fully half (four) of the eight key workplace habits Covey describes in his personal performance classic The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (1989/2013), and The Eighth Habit (2005), are concerned with relating better to the needs of the team. These are: Thinking Win-Win (Positive Sumness), Seeking First to Understand (Empathize), Sharpening the Saw (Promoting Work-Life Balance and Renewal), and Helping Others Find their Voice (Professional Development).

image182In the language of the Eight Skills, Covey’s other four habits involve learning (Synergize), anticipation (Be Proactive), strategic vision (Begin With the End in Mind), and strategic prioritization (Put First Things First). Using the Eight Skills model, we can also propose that innovating, influencing, and reviewing are adaptive foresight and success habits that we must follow. Covey addresses influence in The Speed of Trust (2008), a book recommended earlier. The Franklin Covey Leadership Center, a great place for leadership training, now also offers Sales Performance and Customer Loyalty consulting. That leaves only innovating and reviewing as core foresight and success skills that were absent from Covey’s classic book. No doubt the Franklin Covey Center has addressed these other critical skills in separate publications in the years since.

Like influence, foresight consultants rely on the relating skill in all stages of their work. Consultants must relate well to their colleagues, on whom they depend for referrals and social intelligence. They need to understand the needs of their team, offer trust, personal freedoms, a development path, a good mission, adequate benefits, create demanding execution sprints, and provide healthy recovery time. They also need good mental models for how their production and client teams emotionally and intellectually perceive the world and their work. These relating skills build team strength and trust, and bring it to a place where it will accept, rather than resist, our regularly-needed changes in direction, small and large. We will now discuss that challenge under reviewing (Skill 8) the last skill in the Do loop.

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Table of Contents


Chapter 2. Personal Foresight – Becoming an Effective Self-Leader

Chapter 2: Personal Foresight

Becoming an Effective Self-Leader

Chapter 4. Models – Foundations for Organizational Foresight

Chapter 4: Models

Foundations for Organizational Foresight

Chapter 7. Acceleration – Guiding Our Extraordinary Future

Chapter 7: Acceleration

Guiding Our Extraordinary Future (In Process)

II. Global Progress: 5 Goals, 10 Values, Many Trends

Innovation: Our Abundant Future
Intelligence: Our Augmented Future
Interdependence: Our Civil Future
Immunity: Our Protected Future
Sustainability: Our Rebalanced Future

III. Universal Accelerating Change

Great Race to Inner Space: Our Surprising Future
Entropy&Information: We’re Running Down & Up
The Puzzle of Meaning: We Have No Einstein Yet
Trees, Funnels & Landscapes: Intro to Evo Devo
Big Picture Change: Five Scales of Accelerating ED
Transcension Hypothesis: Where Acceleratn Ends?
IDABDAK: Social Response to Accel & Developmnt
We’re On a Runaway Train: Being Accelaware

IV. Evo Devo and Exponential Foresight

Seeing It All: Accel., Diverg, Adapt, Convrg, Decel.
Natural (I4S) Innovation: The Evolutionary Drive
Natural (I4S) Intelligence: The Human-AI Partnership
Natural (I4S) Morality: Why Empathy and Ethics Rule
Natural (I4S) Security: Strength from Disruption
Natural (I4S) Sustainability: The Developmental Drive
S-Curves: Managing the Four Constituencies
Pain to Gain: Traversing the Three Kuznets Phases
Hype to Reality: Beyond Hype Cycles to Reality Checks
Exponentials Database: Measuring Accelerations
TINA Trends: Societal Evolutionary Development
Managing Change: STEEPCOP Events, Probs, Ideas
A Great Shift: A Survival to a Sentient Economy

V. Evo Devo and Exponential Activism

Building Protopias: Five Goals of Social Progress
Normative Foresight: Ten Values of Society
Top & STEEPCOP Acceleratns: Positive & Negative
Dystopias, Risks, and Failure States
Three Levels of Activism: People, Tech & Universe
A Great Opportunity: Exponential Empowerment


Chapter 8. Your Digital Self – The Human Face of the Coming Singularity

Chapter 8: Your Digital Self

The Human Face of the Coming Singularity (In Process)

I. Your Personal AI (PAI): Your Digital Self

Digital Society: Data, Mediation, and Agents
Personal AIs: Advancing the Five Goals
PAI Innovation: Abundance and Diversity
PAI Intelligence: Bio-Inspired AI
PAI Morality: Selection and Groupnets
PAI Security: Safe Learning Agents
PAI Sustainability: Science and Balance
The Human Face of the Coming Singularity

II. PAI Protopias & Dystopias in 8 Domains

1. Personal Agents: News, Ent., Education
2. Social Agents: Relat. and Social Justice
3. Political Agents :  Activism & Represent.
4. Economic Agents:  Retail, Finance, Entrep
5. Builder Agents :  Work, Innov. & Science
6. Environ. Agents : Pop. and Sustainability
7. Health Agents :  Health, Wellness, Death
8. Security Agents :  Def., Crime, Corrections

III. PAI Activism & Exponential Empowerment

Next Government: PAIs, Groupnets, Democ.
Next Economy: Creat. Destr. & Basic Income
Next Society: PAI Ent., Mortality & Uploading
What Will Your PAI Contribution Be?

Chapter 10. Startup Ideas – Great Product & Service Challenges for Entrepreneurs

Chapter 10: Startup Ideas

Great Product and Service Challenges for Entrepreneurs (In Process)

I. 4U’s Idea Hub: Building Better Futures

Air Deliveries and Air Taxis: Finally Solving Urban Gridlock
Ballistic Shields and Gun Control: Protecting Us All from Lone Shooters
Bioinspiration Wiki: Biomimetics and Bio-Inspired Design
Brain Preservation Services: Memory and Mortality Redefined
Carcams: Document Thieves, Bad Driving, and Bad Behavior
Competition in Govt Services: Less Corruption, More Innovation
Computer Adaptive Education (CAE): Better Learning and Training
Conversational Deep Learning Devsuites: Millions of AI Coders
Digital Tables: Telepresence, Games, Entertainment & Education
Dynaships: Sustainable Low-Speed Cargo Shipping
Electromagnetic Suspension: Nausea-Free Working & Reading in Cars
Epigenetic Health Tests: Cellular Aging, Bad Diet, Body Abuse Feedback
Fireline Explosives and Ember Drones: Next-Gen Fire Control
Global English: Empowering the Next Generation of Global Youth
Greenbots: Drone Seeders and Robotic Waterers for Mass Regreening
High-Density Housing and Zoning: Making Our Cities Affordable Again
Highway Enclosures and Trail Networks: Green and Quiet Urban Space
Inflatable Packaging: Faster and Greener Shipping and Returns
Internet of Families: Connecting People Over Things
Kidcams: Next-Gen Security for Child Safety and Empowerment
Kidpods: Indoor & Outdoor Parent-Assistive Toyboxes
Microdesalination: Democratizing Sustainable Fresh Water Production
Noise Monitors: Documenting and Reducing Noise Pollution
Oceanside Baths: Sustainable Year Round Beach Enjoyment
Open Blood Scanners: DIY Citizen Health Care Sensor Tech
Open Streaming Radio: User-Centered Audio Creation and Rating
Open Streaming Video: User-Centered Video Creation and Rating
Open Values Filters: Social Rankers, Arg. Mappers, and Consensus Finders
Personal AIs: Your Private Advisor, Activist, and Interface to the World
Pet Empowerment: Next-Gen Rights and Abilities for Our Domestic Animals
Safe Closets: Fire-, Earthquake-, and Intruder-Proof Retreat Spaces
Safe Cars: Reducing Our Insane 1.3M Annual Auto Deaths Today
Safe Motorcycles: Lane Splitting in Gridlock Without Risk of Death
Shared Value Insurance: User-Centered Risk Reduction Services
Sleeperbuses and Microhotels: Demonetized Intercity Travel
Space-Based Solar Power: Stratellite Powering and Weather Management
Stratellites: Next-Gen Urban Broadband, Transparency, and Security
Touch DNA: Next-Gen Home Security and Crime Deterrence
View Towers: Improving Urban Walkability, Inspiration, and Community

Chapter 11. Evo Devo Foresight – Unpredictable and Predictable Futures

Chapter 11: Evo Devo Foresight

Unpredictable and Predictable Futures

Appendix 1. Peer Advice – Building a Successful Foresight Practice