“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.
My predictions in 2019 or not broad sweeping Futuristic claims or blockchain/AI/’attack of the robots’/’cryptocurrency rules’ claims, but rather what I would call ‘traction point’ predictions. I view my predictions as trying to see the data points in a swirling world of trend data points and pinpoint several which appear to have a significant number of people coalescing around.
Frictionless, make it easier, speed to market/response/etc., faster. Every day we get barraged with these words as the keys to success. Cram more into smaller spaces of time & attention spans all in the name of Life efficiency (or purchase/experience efficiency) so that, frankly, an already greyish blur of a world just gets blurrier.
I think we are all beginning to realize we are actually contributing to the blurring of life & work. Realizing that distractions and attention isn’t what’s around us, but within us. Realizing that 80% of what we miss just doesn’t matter and if we focused even slightly more on the 20% that did matter we would, well, be 80% more happy & satisfied & successful.
This realization guides us to 2019 and festina lente (make haste slowly). I think slowing down to speed up will gain some traction in 2019.
People will argue this is about focus & I argue it’s about attitude. Festina lente is hard. Really hard. Hard because you have to purposefully ignore some things, let go of some things and decide those things don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. But the trickiest part of festina lente is, currently, we are being convinced to treat Life in an “on & off switch” manner (shut down & turn off work, turn away from distractions, etc.), in other words, either 100% on or 100% off. Festina lente doesn’t suggest an on/off switch, but rather seeing greater progress by slowing down, not stopping, to speed up. It’s more like using a Life dimmer switch.
I don’t believe we will make great strides on this in 2019, but, the concept will start creeping into our attitudes in Life & business.
Effectiveness starts its comeback.
The groundswell against efficiency began years ago. There has always been a vocal minority chafing against the efforts to squeeze every dollar until it became hollow of any meaningful substance (let alone people). What’s made a difference is all that squeezing has made more people (mostly everyday schmucks like me, not leaders), who didn’t pay much attention when all that squeezing was going on by leaders, that effectiveness actually creates value – for business, brands, products and even people’s jobs & lives. This is going to be a slow comeback and 2019 is most likely going to simply be an increase in discussion & not as much behavior change as we would like. But. Its beginning and that’s what counts.
2019 should be the year that Effectiveness Articulators up their game. I believe we will hear more, better, arguments for Effectiveness over Efficiency than we have heard in a very very long time.
Smart people, truth tellers as it were, have had it with fortune cookie wisdom. Even some of the famous fortune cookie wisdom sellers are realizing that soundbites just don’t capture the truths necessary to be effective in Life and business.
Which leads me to what Shane Parrish says on the Farnam Street site: “principles outlive tactics.” For years we have viewed tactics as, well, tactics and ignored the fact fortune cookie wisdom is actually ‘thoughts as tactics’. The truth articulators are going to begin taking back thinking & thoughts and begin explaining complexity and the importance of principles as underpinning how to think about things and deciding what to do in business. We will focus on the fact simplicity, or any tactic, is not sustainable unless grounded in principles – most of which were written decades ago and not by some ‘content storyteller.’
Being principled will matter more than how many shiny, ‘simplicity above all’, entertaining objects you toss out in plans & meetings.
“me” becomes increasingly reflective.
Navel gazing can be helpful. We talk about the onslaught of fake news, technology, lack of online privacy, fake influencers, Instagram, etc (even whether Russian efforts effected behavior) … all external societal pressures on how we think and what we do. Slowly we are realizing “me” controls what ‘me’ thinks and accepts. At the exact same time we are becoming increasingly aware that external forces deliberately attempt to steer what we think and what we do. “Me”, in today’s discussion, often gets wrapped up in ‘mindfulness.’ Its all good because all awareness of this topic is a step in the right direction, but it’s just the beginning of a larger discussion with ourselves in which we are all simply becoming more mindful that “me” is accountable for “me.”
This mindfulness is more important than the more hyped ‘mindfulness’ and my prediction is this mindfulness will be more on our minds in 2019 than purpose and self-awareness.
People are rediscovering the fact they matter. Whether it be large marches or elections being decided by dozens of votes not thousands of votes or even the heinous ‘micro-influencer’, people are increasingly seeing that “one” can make a difference. This also impacts business in ways that it most likely hasn’t faced since the origins of unions.
Unions gathered together people for worker rights.
Now individuals are standing up for ‘right work’, i.e., something a little more meaningful than just “crank out more in less time with less money‘.
People are speaking out about the right way work should be done & how it should mean something. In the past workers have felt this, but hierarchies smothered the feelings. In the present the people realize there are more rebels than there are ‘results & efficiency’ leaders even in the most constrictive hierarchies. Do I believe self-management & distributed decision making organizations will overtake hierarchies in 2019? No. But the concept is not going away and people are going to begin demanding more meaningfulness in their workplaces regardless of the organizational construct.
People understanding they matter, will matter.
Have a great 2019.
(note: I may revise, amend, as I wrote this in 1 hour or less)