Wow, it’s that time again! It’s the most wonderful time of the year because it’s time to celebrate. We’ve made it to the end of another extraordinary year. We’ve made magic together and we’ve experienced tragic together. We’ve won some and we’ve lost some. We’ve stumbled, fumbled and bumbled our way forward. We’ve made mistakes but we’ve also achieved miracles. We’ve survived and we’ve thrived. I salute your resourcefulness and resilience. I’m grateful for your fellowship in 2017. And I’m counting on your contribution in 2018.
What a year! We’ve all seen things that we never thought we’d see and we hope never to see again. On the other hand, we’ve witnessed miracles that reaffirm our faith in the future and each other. I feel fantastic and fatigued in equal measure.
2017 has been extreme, exhilarating, and exhausting, but 2018 is going to take it to a whole new level. Take a deep breath. Reflect on what you’ve learned over the past twelve months. Think about what’s going to happen in the next twelve months. The future belongs to those who are ready for it. No-one knows exactly what is going to happen next. But winners face the right direction. They see opportunities because they prepare to win. If you know what to look for, you’re far more likely to find it.
I make a living by identifying key trends and sharing them with others. I’m a co-pilot for high-flyers. Here’s the one thing that separates them from everyone else: They understand the power of a split-second advantage. They know that a tiny edge can make a huge difference. They’re hungry for the next insight because their curiosity is never satisfied.
So how much do you want to win in 2018? How ready are you to dance with disruption? What do believe are the biggest trends that will determine your success in the next year? Here are my predictions that I can make with total certainty
- A Strong World Economy. In 2017, it accelerated to its strongest pace since the start of the decade. Stockmarkets hit record highs and measures of financial risk were unusually low. The momentum will flow into 2018. Both the U.S. and Canada will enjoy robust growth although it will start to slow towards the end of the year. So strike while the iron is hot but also make the iron hot by striking it. Customers’ mindsets will be open to bold recommendations backed by robust plans. Carpe Annum. Seize the year. Now is not a time for hesitation. Play full out before the inevitable slowdown occurs.
- The Rise of the Perennial. It’s not how old you actually are, it’s how open to change you actually are. According to the Pew Research Center, 34% of the workforce are millennials – 18-33. Another 34% are GenXers, 34-50, 29% are boomers 51 – 70. But age is just a matter of circumstance. It’s a measure of longevity, not aptitude. It’s only a number. So whether you’re a digital native or a digital immigrant, you can be a trailblazer. In fact, if you want to win in 2018, you must be a trailblazer. Either you make dust, or you eat dust. I’m using all the technology at my disposal to package and broadcast my message to thousands. I’m getting stronger, better, smarter. What are you doing?
- A focus on leadership: in 2018, there will be general elections in Mexico, Brazil, Columbia, Sweden, and Italy. There will also be midterm elections in the U.S. where Americans pass judgment on the Trump administration and much else. But we’re all up for re-election in 2018. We all have communities depending on our direction and guidance. So, what’s your campaign platform? How are you promising to improve the lives of your stakeholders? Why should anyone believe in you? I commit to consistently giving you powerful insights that enable you to play like a champion every day.
- A year of sports. The Winter Olympics happens in South Korea in February. In April the 21st Commonwealth Games begins in Australia. In June, The Soccer World Cup kicks off in Russia. In August, the 18th Asian Games commences in Indonesia. In September, Europe’s finest take on the Americans in the biennial Ryder Cup in France. It’s going to be a feast of blood, sweat, and tears. My question is: are you going to participate as an armchair athlete or couch coach? Or are you going to be going for your personal gold as you drip real sweat and cross your own finish line? Nothing will give you a higher return on your time than one hour of intense physical activity every day.
- Globalization and immigration will accelerate. According to the Economist magazine, over 65 million people (equal to the population of Britain) are being forcibly displaced. The inflow of migrants to rich countries has risen in the past couple years surpassing a peak of a decade ago. The Donald can try to command the tide to go back, but the flow will only become stronger. The World Trade Organization also reported a sharp acceleration in global trade growth in 2017 of 3.6% versus 1.3% in 2016. This will continue in 2018. We’re all global citizens now. The next big thing is being hatched in Johannesburg and Jakarta. The next game-changer is on her way to Montreal from Mumbai. So, look for opportunity in places you’ve never looked before. Introduce yourself to people you’ve never met before. If you want to win in 2018, go where you’ve never been before.
- Online merges with offline (OMO). The boundaries between the online and the offline worlds are being erased. The sensors in our phones, our cars, our bicycles, even our clothes, are generating data that help us navigate the world and helps the world customize itself to us. AI is taking us into a future where everyone knows not just our name, but our tastes and wants as well. Competitive video gaming, or e-sports, is rapidly moving from the fringes to mainstream. Championship matches sell out arenas and draw online crowds on a scale traditional sports can only dream of. The dark side is that our personal secrets are not so secret anymore. We’re all just a hack away from public shaming. Transparency has taken on a whole new meaning. Don’t do anything that you wouldn’t want the rest of the world to know about instantly. At the same time, insert yourself into other people lives as seamlessly and productively as you can. Just like I’m doing with you now.
- Values matter. We will all be held to higher standards in 2018. Courtesy, respect, fairness, integrity, and caring in the workplace will be emphasized strongly. “Unconscious bias” has become a hot topic in human resource management. A new genre of data called “talent analytics” will be deployed to analyze employer best practices. We need to be intentional in our interactions with everyone. Winners will act in a way that inspires others to invest more time with them. They will consciously bring their A-Game to every conversation. Companies that celebrate their people and exemplify meritocracy will benefit from higher employee engagement, customer loyalty, and profitability. It all begins with you. And it all begins now.
- The Pursuit of happiness. With great success comes great stress. Mindfulness, meditation, reflection, regeneration, reinvention, and wellbeing will be the hottest topics in the workplace in 2018. There is a boom in “Happinomics” – happiness research and guides on how to sustain one’s personal positivity and motivation. Winning workplaces are championing this movement by introducing programmes to their people. They are also making joy and fulfillment integral to their cultures. Misery may love company but it also destroys companies. There is no such thing as an inspirational pessimist or grouchy go-getter. This video is my way of having fun while I spread good vibes. What’s yours?
- Personal ownership. 2018 will be characterized by unprecedented crises – just like every other year. It will bring heartache and ecstasy in equal measure. We will be pounded by VUCA – volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. On occasion, we will be overwhelmed with our own problems and even blamed for others’ problems. There will be no clear path forward. We will have to innovate or perish. We will have to find the dots and connect them in a way that no-one else can. No matter what role we play, we will need to step up and volunteer a better way. Breakthroughs happen one person at a time. Be that person.
- Intentional Community building. We’re only as good as all of us together. We’re defined by the context in which we work and live. In 2018, there will be a greater focus on building “intentional communities.” These are networks of people with common goals and challenges. Industries, countries, cities, professions, causes, and enthusiasts are aligning to build ecosystems of possibility. We’re all magnifiers of other people’s strength. So find a community that will multiply your power or start one of your own.
Wow! 2018 is going to be a phenomenal year. I hope I’ve inspired you to plug into its potential. Discuss the trends with your friends and colleagues. Define your own. Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And until the next time, remember, the trends are your friends. You can go a lot further and faster when they’re pushing you forward.