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Yogi Berra was right about the future

The year 2025 will be as different from today as today is from 1900. More change is coming in the next 25 years than we've experienced in the last 100 years. And knowledge is doubling every 6 to 18 months. These, well, terrifying statistics from futurist Jack Uldrich should jump-start your thinking about what kind of future you're creating for your business. How can you handle what's coming? According to Uldrich, you should be doing three things to prepare for tomorrow:

• Think exponentially.
• Unlearn a lot of what you know.
• Believe in and do the impossible.

Creating a "best practices" culture

What sparked my future thinking was a recent presentation by Dennis Donovan, HR veteran and former HR executive at Home Depot, who offered a formula for dealing with the accelerated rate of change we are all trying to manage:

VA = Q x A x E

VA stands for value added; Q is quality in what you do; A is acceptance within your organization; and E is how well you execute. This formula has everything to do with building an organizational culture of people who can think on their feet, unlearn what no longer works, and believe that you'll be doing things tomorrow that don't even exist today. Tomorrow's workforce will need to change internally at a rate that exceeds the rate of change in the market. That level of velocity demands a new set of cultural best practices to sustain it.

Finding highly qualified applicants is only going to get more competitive, especially for technical positions. But every member of a team is critical to overall success. Some companies will settle for less-than-perfect candidates or pay more in compensation than they can afford. I would advise, instead, that you create the kind of culture that attracts and retains the right people, though it may mean giving up some of the traditional management practices you have championed.

A future-based culture:

• Defines and hires for the competencies needed now as well as in the future
• Builds acceptance and appreciation for a unit's work and contribution to the organization and makes sure that everyone throughout the organization understands what each team does
• Makes sure team members are recognized for their achievements in and outside their immediate department
• Incorporates flexible work schedules, telecommuting, job-sharing and other work programs that accommodate preferences and lifestyles for employees
• Offers the best training and career development opportunities the organization can afford
• Offers competitive and attractive compensation and benefits
• Sets and adheres to high standards
• Understands what makes the organization a "best place to work" and promotes it in the market
• Stays flexible in making arrangements with older workers who might be of benefit and offers consulting, part-time and other options to retain the experience and knowledge of those people
• Decentralizes decision-making, empowering employees to make decisions on the spot
• Ensures that managers enable and encourage innovation and feedback
• Communicates so that the entire organization understands and is aligned around the vision and goals
• Adapts
• Is accountable

And doesn't:

• Think quarter-to-quarter, which is not viable or competitive over the long term
• Communicate to candidates, employees, or the market in any way that's not direct and true
• Retain practices for the sake of tradition, rather than efficiency or productivity
• Tolerate a "not my job mentality"

Is your company open to, and ready to plan for a compelling future? Speed is your best future friend, so make its acquaintance now.
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Kathleen Quinn Votaw is founder and CEO of TalenTrust, a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) firm that helps companies accelerate their growth by hiring exceptional talent. TalenTrust LLC is located in Golden, CO. Kathleen is president of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), Denver. Reach Kathleen at kvotaw@talentrust.com or 303-838-3334 x5.


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Kathleen Quinn Votaw

Kathleen Quinn Votaw serves on the Board of Directors for both the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) Denver and Colorado Companies to Watch. She is also founder and CEO of TalenTrust, a Denver-based professional services firm that helps high growth companies solve the people puzzle.TalenTrust offers strategies to attract, retain and engage talented people. Reach Kathleen at kvotaw@talentrust.com or 303-838-3334.

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