How to Lead from the Future with Mark W. Johnson

In this episode, Mark Johnson describes a method for putting visionary thinking and processes into place so that any organization can take advantage of disruptive innovation. As business models change at an ever-increasing rate and the world becomes noisier, the tendency for most organizations is to hunker down and deal with the here and now. But it is important to get past the pull of the present and plan for five to ten years in the future.

Johnson recognizes the challenges of managing the day-to-day while planning the future and suggests the “future-back thinking” model: Starting from a clean slate, think about what could be instead of what is happening in the present. Once the future is identified, walk back in stages to create the initiatives needed to be put in place to start the journey to the desired future state. Leaders who practice this method must be able to deal with ambiguity while giving themselves time to explore, envision, and discover. In essence, they need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Johnson emphasizes that planning five to ten years ahead is an achievable goal for any leader who uses future-back thinking. And when you develop the narrative that supports your company’s future, passion and opportunity that now lie dormant will be unleashed throughout your organization.

For more information about Mark W. Johnson, go to

About the Author

Chad Gordon

Chad Gordon is the host of the LeaderChat podcast and one of Blanchard's top client partners dedicated to helping global organizations lead at a higher level.

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