Rethinking the Future: Leadership for the 21st Century

“Today’s knowledge revolution, having launched a gigantic ‘Third Wave’ of
economic, technical and social change, is forcing businesses to operate in
radically new, continually shifting ways….every shred of industrial-era thinking
is now being rescrutinized and brilliantly reformulated.”

 —Alvin and Heidi Toffler

The industrial age of business was a system that operated with linearity and  logic— with vertical integration, synergy, economies of scale, and hierarchical, command-and-control modi operandi. This is giving way to new forms of outsourcing, minimization of scale, an emphasis on profit centers, networks and other diverse forms of organization.

When an old paradigm crumbles and a new one is not yet securely in place, we experience frequent bursts of creative thinking. Accompanying this is an equivalent degree of chaos and confusion, with feelings of uncertainty.

Moving into the 21st century amid such radical change and confusion has proved difficult for business leaders. What questions must leaders ask themselves and their organizations to gain clarity about the road ahead? How do you develop a new vision when there are hints that current strategies may not work in the future?

We need to rethink our previous assumptions about where we are going—in business, as well as our societal infrastructure. This mandate is further underscored by a growing sense of discomfort in the business community. What we have known and depended upon for past successes is no longer sufficient when preparing for the future.


This is a synopsis of a 2000 word article available for purchase and use in your newsletters, blogs and web sites.

The full article contains the following concepts:

New Customers
Preparing for Tomorrow
A Different Game
New Rules
New Leadership
New Assumptions
Questions for the 21st Century
Organizations as Biological Organisms
What’s Next?
Six Steps to Rethinking the Future

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