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Is It Possible to Future-Proof Your Business? (#165)


The Confident Leader


A journalist recently asked my opinion on how leaders can “future-proof” their business and their team. I think my response caught them off guard, in part because I challenged the premise of the question. 

“Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.” 

— Voltaire

This Week’s Edition

When thinking about the future, the goal isn’t to control it. That’s a futile effort. The goal is to prepare yourself and your team effectively, so you are equipped to handle and respond to the unknowns of the future.  

Clarify Your Thinking

What does the phrase “future-proof” even mean? Come to find out the definition is: to make something unlikely to become obsolete or fail in the future. 

The crux of the journalist’s question was asking “experts” how leaders can guarantee that their business and their people won’t become obsolete or fail.  

What might be the state of the leadership population that this journalist is seriously considering such a topic?

I can imagine the thought bubble of the leader who would take the bait and click on the article:

“Pleeease… just tell me what I have to do to make sure that my business is never obsolete and I can keep my team from failing. I can’t handle this uncertainty for another day.”

One CEO shared with us at National Confident Leader Week, “Robin, it seems like the once every hundred years events are happening annually. They are bigger, more frequent and unprecedented.”

Leaders who are desperate and doubting their leadership ability to navigate their circumstances may fall prey to an expert-of-the-day or article promising a future that is certain. 

Old Thinking: I’m finding that there is less and less I can control. Can someone offer me something that allows me to be certain about the future? 

New Thinking: Nothing in this world is certain. I must prepare myself, my team and my business to live in the land of uncertainty. I wonder what I need to develop in my leadership to be prepared.

Thoughts Lead to Actions

Contrary to the journalist’s premise, the remainder of this newsletter is based on the following:

  • Without innovation everything is subject to becoming obsolete.
  • Failure is a good thing. Embracing failure provides opportunity for improvement.

If you happen to disagree, you can stop reading and reclaim some time. For the rest of us, these two elements seem like common sense. Haven’t we already learned them? Aren’t they part of our leadership wisdom at this point?

If future-proofing is a dead end strategy, what is a leader supposed to do?

Answer: prepare for the uncertainty ahead by considering the following three steps:

Step 1: Spend time with your team. Get to know them. What do they want? What ideas do they have? How can you help them perform well and be invested in the work your collective team is doing?

Step 2: Be generous. Pay good people well. Don’t make them an easy target for a predatory recruiter to steal them away for “fifty cents” more per hour. 

Step 3: Invest in your team’s development. 94% of employees say they are less likely to leave if they are being invested in.

Hang in there with your people and your people will hang in there with you. However you choose to invest in them they will be sitting at the table with you helping you navigate the next challenge that the future uncertainty will dish up. 

Boost Your Performance

Watch this week’s video to understand how strong our desire is to control almost everything. We even desire to control our future by undertaking efforts today we think will guarantee a certain outcome. Watch this week’s video for more on this topic.

What’s Your Opinion?

What can you do today to best prepare your business for the future? Share it with me at

If you are going to be a leader, you might as well be a good one. Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

We live to make bad leadership extinct so forward this newsletter to others who strive to be confident leaders. 


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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.