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Michael McQueen is one of our ten specialist keynote speakers inspiring today's leaders. Best-selling author and trend forecaster, Micheal is in high-demand for his presentations that offer proven and practical strategies for staying ahead of change.

Below, the Exec Program's favourite forward thinking futurist offers an overview of a deep and highly nuanced topic - Disruption

What skills and strategies do leaders need to develop to stay ahead of disruption? 

One of the biggest traps that most organisations fall into, that leaves them vulnerable to being disrupted, is that they start to read their own press. You know, they think they've made it. That sense of, 'hey we're so big we're so successful, everyone knows our brand... we're on a winner here!'

And this is a dynamic I often call the "Intoxication Of Success".

And the old saying is true; the moment you think you've made it, you've passed it. That complacency and arrogance is probably the most dangerous trap.

So, my encouragement to clients is, if you want to reach that agile stay at the cutting edge, we've got a ward off any sense of complacency or arrogance and instead we've got to stay humble and hungry. 

What's next? What's the thing I don't know yet? What's the way we need to be changing even though it might be uncomfortable & unfamiliar?

The second big trap I see many organisations fall into is they create friction for their customers and don't realise that that very friction is the stuff that leaves them vulnerable to being disrupted.

Now, what's friction?

Friction's the stuff that makes it difficult for people to do business with you. It adds complexity, frustration, bureaucracy, confusion... In the past we could get away with creating friction because customers didn't have as many options... But they do now.

The fact is, we've got consumers with more options than ever before, and if we take our customers for granted for even a second and leave the friction in place, if we don't address it, a Disrupter will come in an do it for us.

What are the traits that are required?

It's all these mentalities, skills and characteristics, and again the importance of hunger and humility. But also, and it's something we don't hear a lot about in the business world, and it's something beginning with E... 

And that's empathy.

If you really want to innovate in a way that serves your marketplace and that deals with friction, you really need to start with empathising with your customer experience. 

So, on top of those characteristics, I think in the years ahead we're going to see things like creativity, judgement, intuition... these are all important, critical skills. Particularly so as we head into an age of artificial intelligence and the reason these things are so important is because that's what computers don't do.

Computers don't intuit.

They don't use empathy. They don't care, essentially, because they can't. And so the reality is, in the years ahead, if we want to be relevant as human beings but also create organisations that are relevant, it's using those unique skills that are Human, that are very much unique to us as Humans, that'll be most the important trait to head off disruption.

Are you doing enough to keep your best people from leaving?

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FutureYou Advisory's Executive Program is a monthly leadership development program that places delegates in front of world-class C-suite, thought leaders, speakers and presenters in a non-competitive and empathetic environment. Designed around boardroom conversation of today and the conversation that will take place in the future, this challenging and thought-provoking program helps executives solve business problems in a safe, high-calibre environment.