Adapted from original article in Network Under 40

Excuse me, have we met? Weren’t you the one questioning leadership at the last company town hall? The so-called “squeaky wheel” that’s forever pushing back on the status quo? The person that the organization has learned to avoid, undermine or even silence? Oh, yeah, we definitely know you, and we feel your pain.

You’re a bona fide change agent.

While others are terrified at the prospect of doing things differently, you are always ready to face the unknown head on. And yet you’re restricted by individuals and processes that constantly resist change.

But here’s the thing: you’re exactly what this world needs.

Experts from many different industries and disciplines have agreed that we are in the midst of an unprecedented global shift that is redefining the way that we work, learn and govern.

In this landscape of extreme volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, leaders find themselves in flux. Most of them are paralyzed, attempting to lay low until things “settle down.” However, as a change agent, you are aware that we are in a “new normal” that operates from a completely different set of rules. And this is why you are so important to your organization, your community and your family.

In a world where we must learn how to disrupt before we are disrupted, your influence has never been needed more.

There’s just one problem.

Even though YOU have the right mindset to tackle this era of unparalleled change, you’ve struggled to sway others up to this point. Although you’ve been passionate, uplifting and inspirational, that’s not enough to convince and convert those around you that seem to be stuck in a previous era.

You need backup—a network of like-minded professionals who can share the language, the tools, and the mindset to help you grow into an influential change agent.

This “backup” comes in the form of Futures Thinking (also known as Strategic Foresight).

Futures Thinking is a critical skill that is quickly gaining importance in business, governance, and society worldwide. It’s a movement spearheaded by people like you who recognize that to get ahead in our rapidly changing environment, we need to stop guessing. We need to take precise action today based on a more robust understanding of what could happen 10, 20 or 50 years from now.

Futures Thinkers constantly look for emerging trends and issues—indicators of different ways the future might unfold. They then leverage those insights to test strategy, develop breakthrough innovations and create transformative change.

Historically, Futures Thinking or Strategic Foresight has been inaccessible, hidden away in academic circles and small groups within large companies like Royal Dutch Shell and Walt Disney International. We believe in providing an approach that democratizes this skill so that everyone can learn to think like a futurist.

While others are terrified at the prospect of doing things differently, you are always ready to face the unknown head on. And yet you’re restricted by individuals and processes that constantly resist change.

Your tribe of like-minded people exists, friend. We all push the status quo, “own” the early adopter role, and have this crazy idea of proactively planning for the future. We embrace the feeling of discomfort as we know that is where growth takes place. Many of today’s leaders don’t have this skill, and many of your colleagues emulating those leaders are also going to miss the boat. You’re the obvious choice to lead an organization that’s agile, disruptive and constantly surpassing the competition, and can strategically do so with a foresight mindset and toolkit.

Unlock the futurist mindset with our Strategic Foresight Primer – a digestible read covering the Natural Foresight framework inclusive of case studies and job aids.