Future Readiness

‘The only constant is change’ - Heraclitus

June 8, 2017

It’s all about staying relevant.

That’s the sentiment we expressed in a recent blog called Keeping up with the consumer. We said: ‘Good companies adapt to changing environments. They instill within their corporate ranks a culture of future readiness, which enables their management to embrace and exploit (rather than resist) change.’

This is a pivotal subject for any enterprise wishing to flourish in the digital age, a period where change is cascading all around us – at warp speed. At The Wooding Group, we’re not clairvoyant, nor are we fortune-tellers. Which means that futurology – despite the fact that many of its adherents claim a scientific basis for it – is a discipline we view with a healthy degree of suspicion.

But being future ready? Count us in!

The second forty hours

The Medallion Fund is the flagship fund of Renaissance Technologies LLC, one of the most successful investment management firms in history. From 1994 through mid-2014 the fund averaged a 71.8% annual return.*

According to Scott Patterson, author of a book called The Quants, Renaissance operates according to a concept known as the second forty hours. Employees are each allotted forty hours to work on their assigned duties – programming, researching markets, building out the computer system.

Then, during the second forty hours, they’re allowed to venture into any area of the Medallion Fund and experiment. The freedom to do so – insiders say there are no walled-off segments of the Medallion Fund to employees – allows for the chance for breakthroughs that keep Medallion’s creative and future readiness juices flowing.

Esprit de corps

At The Wooding Group we don’t pretend to be experts in future readiness. But we do recognize and accept that – to be future ready – any organization (including our own) has to be built around a culture of initiative, innovation, learning, constructive delegation, and accountability.

And we believe in something else: Esprit de corps. This, perhaps old-fashioned precept, distils the animating spirit in any group founded on motivation, focus, hard work, flexibility, excellence, transparency, loyalty and honour. Successful, forward-thinking, future ready, goal driven organisations – in our experience – thrive on it.

Level 5 Leadership

Level 5 Leadership is based on a hierarchy of leadership values originally recognized and defined by James C. ‘Jim’ Collins, a widely acknowledged expert on corporate sustainability and growth.

From Hewlett-Packard and the United States Marine Corps, to McKinsey and the John Hopkins School of Medicine, Collins’ hard won work experience taught him that truly great corporate leaders have two attributes: a fierce resolve and humility.

Such leaders are often individuals who are publically unknown and typically attribute their successes to their staff and a strong dose of good fortune.

Their fierce resolve is displayed, not by throwing their weight around, but by influencing their people to see the world through a common lens and inspiring them to embrace shared ambitions and expectations.

Such leaders are curious, creative and never content with the status quo. They prepare for the future – fostering anticipation, resilience and flexibility – by building their organisations on the growth of their people.

They are leaders who influence through inspiration rather than exercising control through power, expecting of themselves the same capacity for change they ask of those they lead.

Helping enterprises building a future ready business culture is something an interesting Toronto-based company called Guided Futures (www.guidedfutures.com) has been doing for several years. You might want to check them out.

‘Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.’
Niels Bohr, Physicist

The Wooding Group at CIBC Wood Gundy, 780-498-5047

* ‘The Quants’ by Scott Patterson