It's the ultimate paradox for leaders: you can't predict the future, but you must make sense of it in order to thrive. To be successful, leaders need to sort out what's important, devise strategies based on their own point of view, and get there ahead of the crowd. But most leaders today are just concerned about getting there in time. Many are even willing to settle for getting there fashionably late. They focus on quick-fix problems, avoiding the kinds long-term of dilemmas that will characterize the future. But as Institute for the Future's ten-year forecast—which is included in the book—makes clear, today's leaders face more and more dilemmas: recurring, complex, messy, and puzzling.
Bob Johansen shares techniques refined over nearly forty years by the Institute of the Future to help you navigate your own organization's road to the future. He details real-world examples of how organizations like Procter & Gamble, Disney, Reuters, UPS, and the Centers for Disease Control have put these approaches into practice. Through fascinating and illustrative examples—including the Toyota Prius, the iPod, Crest Toothpaste, and many more—he shows that getting there early means finding new markets, new customers, and new products ahead of your competitors. It means anticipating the needs of your stakeholders. It means you'll be able to establish a position before your late-arriving competitors even have a chance to organize. It helps you think through what might happen and what should happen. It gives you time to consider alternative strategies. Ultimately, getting there early helps you see beyond the problems of the present and recognize possible futures before others do.
Get There Early lays out the Institute's three-step Foresight to Insight to Action Cycle that allows you to sense, make sense of, and win when faced with dilemmas. Johansen offers hope for leaders facing the constant tension—a dilemma in itself—between judging too soon and deciding too late.