Prof Nicholas King is an Environmental Futurist, Global Change Analyst, and Strategist. In 2018 he will once again facilitate the Strategic Management component of the Executive Development Programme (EDP) at USB-ED. He shares the following in this week's Faculty Focus:
What has been your toughest leadership challenge?
"I believe the biggest challenge is getting people to think laterally or systemically, as well as futuristically. We are really bad at looking forward, thinking non-linearly, and envisioning differences from what we currently see and know. We tend to just project forward without any real interpretation of reality in terms of trends and combinations of trends, within a systems-thinking framework."
What is the toughest leadership challenge facing businesses today?
"Complacency amongst business leaders. They often do not grasp the speed of technological and other changes, including resource depletion, environmental degradation, and socio-political dynamics. Businesses need to use resources more efficiently, engage, have a social licence to operate, and shift to circular economies."
Who inspires you and why?
"Nature inspires me. Nature functions in a systemic way and has solved every single problem we face as humanity in an interconnected and synergistic way. We really need to learn more from nature and adapt biomimicry as the template for a sustainable future on a finite planet."
Do you have a mantra or slogan you live by?
"Let those who say it can't be done get out of the way of those doing it!"
Looking back to when you started out, what career advice would you give your younger self?
"Be humble. Be as broad-minded as possible and seek the broadest spectrum of advice and ideas from the widest possible sources – preferably from people with the greatest differences to yourself. Never think you have the answer or that there is a 'silver bullet' solution to anything. Think systemically and understand that every decision or action creates responses in a myriad – often unforeseen – ways, and that no decision or action is an end point. Everything is in constant flux, and change, flexibility and adaptability is everything."
What book are you currently reading?
"Wellbeing Economy: Success in a World Without Growth, by Lorenzo Fioramonti."