Chris Kolenda: What Baltimore’s Key Bridge Tragedy tells us about Risk Management

What Baltimore’s Key Bridge Tragedy tells us about Risk Management

My heart goes out to the families of the six killed and all people harmed by this terrible tragedy. The Singaporean-flagged ship, Dali, lost power on its way out of Baltimore’s harbor, crashing into a Key Bridge pylon and destroying the majestic bridge.

Similar to the 9/11 hijackings, the risk of this particular catastrophe is more evident in hindsight. As a leader, you don’t live history backward, though, and your livelihood depends on a lot of factors outside of your control, so you have to manage risk well.

Read on if you want a simple risk management process.

As author Alan Weiss suggests, risk is a function of probability and seriousness. Probability is the likelihood of a particular risk materializing, while seriousness is the extent of harm it causes.

Two variables make for a good risk management double-axis chart.

Chris Kolenda: Risk Management Char

When a risk has a high probability but low seriousness, you should move forward while monitoring and aiming to lower the likelihood. Minor equipment failures and small-scale supply delays are common examples. You can reduce the seriousness by making routine repairs and keeping appropriate stockage levels. Preventing these risks altogether can create massive opportunity costs. Swapping out major equipment each month might reduce the risk of failure, but the cost of such action would be prohibitive. 

Low probability, low seriousness risks are not worth stewing over. You should drive on and adjust as necessary. There’s a low probability, for example, that someone will object to this article and unsubscribe. It’s a free newsletter, so the seriousness is low, too.  

The Key Bridge disaster was a low-probability, high-seriousness risk. Your best choice here is to have contingencies, like insurance. There’s a tendency after such tragedies to try to lower the probability even further, but trying to prevent freak accidents is fraught.

Innovation is another contingency you can consider. To Sears, the probability of Amazon coming along was low even as the seriousness of such a competitor would be high. As digital technology permeated the workplace, Sears got complacent, and Amazon put them out of business. What’s your innovation plan for AI?

High-probability, high-seriousness scenarios require you to avoid them altogether or take action to mitigate one or both problems. Do ships like the Dali have chronic power problems? If so, another crash will be more likely. You can reduce the probability by having inspections in port, using tugs, and requiring redundant power systems.

Take fifteen minutes to identify your business risks in each quadrant and identify mitigation measures. Even better, involve your team members. They’ll understand the mitigation measures you’ll want to put in place, and will be more likely to identify and report problems quickly because they’ve thought about the consequences.

How’s this process working for you? Email me to let me know.


This tool and other visuals give you a conscious process you can teach, assess, and improve. 

Most leaders use unconscious processes that work to varying degrees. You cannot teach, evaluate, or improve an unconscious process, so people get frustrated and leave. 

What would be the impact if you had more tools like this one? The best places to find them are in my trademarked programs Becoming a WHY Leader® and Building an Inspiring Culture®. 

Becoming a WHY Leader® is a video-based program that moves you from being a “Hands-On” to an “Eyes-on, Hands-Off” leader, which is necessary if you want to lead multi-unit organizations and inspire people to contribute their best to your team’s success. 

Do you want to create a culture where people voluntarily meet your standards and expectations? Building an Inspiring Culture® is a video-based program that outlines the process for doing so. 

You can engage in these self-directed programs at your own pace and order. Do you want to improve your self-awareness or strengthen buy-in? Go directly to the module you want, watch a short video, and apply the process visual to get results immediately.

Each program retails for $997 or $1450 for both. 

For the rest of April 2024, I am offering lifetime access to you for $297 each or $397 for both.

You can enroll in one or both of them using these links:

Becoming a WHY Leader®:

Building an Inspiring Culture®:

Bundle It! Get both programs for just $397:

Do you want to license these programs for your organization? Email me, and we’ll set up a time to discuss.

Chris Kolenda: AI is Getting Dumber. How You Can Avoid Cognitive Drift.

AI is Getting Dumber. How You Can Avoid Cognitive Drift.

According to the Wall Street Journal, AI platform ChatGPT 4 has significantly higher errors in basic math and other subjects than its predecessor, 3.5. What’s going on?

Algorithmic drift is one of the primary culprits. AI learns from inputs, so it is subject to the garbage-in, garbage-out phenomenon. The more garbage enters the system, the more the chatbot’s accuracy drifts. 

Algorithmic drift can also result from manipulation, where people seek to sabotage the Chatbot by feeding it lousy information or coaxing it to say something outrageous or offensive. 

Artificial life is not all that far from real life when it comes to cognitive drift. We, too, drift when we privilege information that confirms our beliefs (confirmation bias) and super-empower those who speak it. Cognitive drift is part of the reason leaders can get worse even as they have more experience on the job. Russia’s Vladimir Putin is a high-profile example.

You avoid cognitive drift when you gain diverse inputs, resist sycophancy, and breathe fresh air. Here are some action steps to do so.

  1. Promote cognitive diversity in your inner circle. Just because someone looks different from you does not mean they think differently. You need people around you who are committed to your success and see issues from different angles. My PROM Archetypes® assessment helps you do so.
  1. Seek out differing perspectives. I read the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post because I know that each has a unique point of view, and I can normally triangulate them to come up with a reasonable degree of ground truth. You put cognitive drift into overdrive when you only read, watch, or listen to news and ideas from a single perspective.. 
  1. Increase your company’s psychological confidence. Psychological confidence occurs when leaders encourage disagreement, and employees are comfortable disagreeing agreeably. People with psychological confidence will identify problems, offer fresh ideas, and take risks to advance the common good. If everything is always awesome in your Legoland, you should brace for impact.

I can help you assess your company’s psychological confidence using a questionnaire. Here’s the general version that I customize for organizations. 

  1. Get an outside perspective. Bring on a trusted advisor who 1) wants what’s best for you, 2) builds your capacity, and 3) tells you the truth. Your typical certificate-waving coaches fall short on 2 and 3; they usually just help you inhale your own gas. 

It’s hard to see the label from inside the jar, and even your most objective subordinates will have difficulty telling you what you need to hear. A trusted advisor will save you time, improve your decisions, and increase your peace of mind.

If you would like to explore ways a trusted advisor can support you, schedule a call

Optimize your workplace

Anger, boredom, frustration – what happens when you optimize the wrong things

Just because you can do something does not mean you should do it. Optimization creates unintended consequences that can undermine your business.

Baseball may be the most data-mined sport. Ever since the championship Oakland A’s Moneyball, big data has dominated the game. 

Big data told you where and how to pitch the ball to a given batter, and how to shift players to take advantage of a batter’s tendencies. The strike zone narrowed to give the batters a better chance against 95+ mph fastballs.

Pitchers and batters tried to tilt the odds with mind games – the between-pitch rituals, preening, adjusting, pointing, and glaring.

The result: total boredom. A nine-inning game dragged on for longer than three hours on average. Exciting balls-in-play became fewer; many at-bats ended up in strikeouts, home runs, or outs.  

Baseball analytics optimized the chances of getting the batter out and winning individual games, while losing fans and the soul of the sport.

Changes this year include a pitch clock, a batter clock, and no major shifts. The games are back to 2.5 hour average, with more balls in play, and more fans in the seats. [I saw the Brewers beat the Pirates 5-0 in two hours and fifteen minutes!]

Businesses that seek to optimize the ease and speed of communication offer tools ranging from chat and IM to email, workflow programs, and task organizers, to video and voice calls.

Communication speed and volume are higher than ever, while communication quality could be worse than ever. According to a 2022 Harris poll, managers believe their teams lose an average of 7.47 hours per employee per week due to poor communication. 

Nearly a full workday each week evaporates.

In a 2000-hour work year, you lose 400 hours; the equivalent of 10 weeks per employee. Ouch!

Imagine what you could achieve if your employees got half that time back.

Here are some ways to reduce communication fratricide.

  1. Establish protocols for channel usage. HINT: don’t use chat or IM for anything complex.
  2. If the matter is not resolved in three back-and-forths, get in person, on video, or on the phone to talk it over. In these cases, written cues are not communicating sufficiently, so you need to add verbal and non-verbal cues.
  3. Let people set their messaging engagement times and deep work times. Don’t let perpetual distraction rule the workday.
  4. Set boundaries. Topics like religion, sex, and politics should be off-limits in most workplaces. Ditto goes for disrespect.
  5. Reduce the volume of information emails. Set up a common info-sharing portal where people can make routine updates. This step will reduce the length of meetings, too.

More broadly, consider the tradeoffs before you bandwagon onto a new tool. 

Are you looking to improve the optimization of your business? Consider joining one of our programs or schedule a call with Chris Kolenda. 

challenging assumptions

Challenging Assumptions: The Power of Questioning Our Beliefs

Assumptions are powerful, often subconscious beliefs that guide your decisions and actions. What happens when these assumptions turn out to be false?

The consequences can be far-reaching and even derail progress toward your goals. therefore, learning the art of questioning beliefs and challenging assumptions is crucial.

The example of butter illustrates this point well. Many people (me included) assume that butter needs to be refrigerated to avoid spoilage. However, the Wall Street Journal notes that butter can last up to a month at room temperature without going bad.

This realization can save you from destroying your toast every morning, and it highlights how our assumptions can limit us.

Challenging assumptions can save your business

In business, unquestioned assumptions can be particularly dangerous.

Consider the case of Sears, which assumed that its big stores and mail-order catalogs would continue succeeding, only to be outcompeted by Amazon. Or, Blockbuster’s assumption that people would always rent videos from brick-and-mortar stores until Netflix disrupted the industry. And Elizabeth Holmes’ assumption that she could fake it until Theranos made it.

These examples demonstrate the need to question our assumptions regularly. A great way to uncover implicit assumptions is to ask, “What must be true” for this plan to work?

This question can help you identify hidden beliefs limiting your options and opportunities.

If you’re ready to re-examine your implicit assumptions, simplify your life, and move your business to new heights, you need the right support.

A coach or mentor can provide an objective perspective and help you identify and challenge your assumptions.

Taking this step can be a game-changer, leading to better decision-making, greater creativity, and improved outcomes. So, why not book a call with me and explore the possibilities.

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preventive action

Preventive Action Could Have Averted Norfolk Southern’s Derailment

Preventive action reduces the probability of a catastrophe down the line.

Complacency occurs when you do the same things over and over and are satisfied with the result.

It’s so easy to get complacent. You find something that works for you, and you keep doing it. You institutionalize it as a best practice. That sounds like common sense.

That mentality works in a static world where nothing changes. Your best practice cannot get better.

Why it matters

We live in a dynamic world. Today’s best practice is tomorrow’s cautionary tale. Norfolk Southern’s quest for absolute efficiency, known as precision-scheduled railroading, may have created fragility that led to the disastrous derailment.

Preventive action

I took future national security leaders to Gettysburg last week to discuss complacency and innovation, among other topics. They were keen to discuss risk and uncertainty.

We contrasted downstream actions that address a problem that’s occurred and upstream actions that seek to reduce the likelihood of future problems.

Confederate general Robert E. Lee, caught off guard that the Union Army was so close, fixated on corrective actions that spiraled into the disastrous Pickett’s charge.

Preventive action is upstream

Preventive actions and contingent actions are upstream.

Preventive actions, like periodic tune-ups for your vehicle, reduce the probability that you will have a catastrophic engine failure. Contingent actions like insurance ameliorate the costs of future problems.

The challenge

The challenge is that you can get fixated on costs and remove vital preventive and contingent actions like safety, subordinate leaders development, coaching, etc.; you see them as “cost-centers” and nice-to-dos.

Norfolk Southern is another example of corrective action being more expensive than preventive action.

What risks are most important for you to prevent?

What contingencies must you prepare to face?

What preventative and contingent actions must you take to prepare for uncertainty?

These practical discussions are common at Gettysburg because I use stories of the battle to tee up discussions that you tell me are vital to your business. You’ll expand your perspective and develop pragmatic ways to improve by getting out of your daily environs.

My next battlefield seminar for CEOs and Consultants is June 6th-9th at the Antietam and Gettysburg battlefields. Learn more about my exclusive events to expand your perspective and develop pragmatic ways to improve. Schedule a call to see if the event is a good fit.

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exclusive events
preventive action

Preventive Action vs Corrective Action: SVB’s Losses and Lee’s Defeat

SVB’s executives remind me of confederate general Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg. Both were so high on their own fumes that they didn’t bother to ask “what if” their rosy projections did not work out.

Why it matters

Having what-if conversations with trusted advisors can help you make wiser decisions and avoid the hubris that brought down SVB and Signature bank.

SVB’s disaster didn’t have to happen

You make better decisions when you bring in fresh air. Freebasing your own gunpowder leaves you vulnerable to common decision-making errors.

Recency bias is believing the future will be like the recent past. Sometimes it takes the form of people being afraid to fly after a plane crash. The more subtle form is a belief that current trends will continue.

The confederates racked up several victories over the Union forces, including big wins at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. Confident that his army would keep winning, Lee made foolish decisions to invade Pennsylvania, attack dug-in Union positions at Gettysburg, and order the ill-fated Pickett’s charge.

He never asked what if the Union army didn’t break and run as they had before.

SVB’s execs believed historically-low interest rates would continue, showing an ostrich-like indifference to clear signals that the Fed needed to raise rates to tackle inflation. Their investments in low-yield 10-year treasuries created massive losses as the bank had to liquidate the assets before maturity when investors withdrew their deposits to seek more attractive investments.

Like Lee, they could have benefitted from a trusted advisor who asked, “what if ___ scenario occurs,” i.e., what if the Fed raises interest rates to curb inflation? Your subordinates are too busy or nervous to ask you these questions, so you need an outside point of view.

With these discussions, SVB could have identified preventive action, like keeping more cash on hand and balancing investments between short-term and 10-year treasuries.

Preventive action vs corrective action

Preventive action is better than corrective action

What-if questions from your peers are what’s going to drive your preventive action. Preventive action has its costs, but is always less expensive than corrective action. Just ask SVB and Robert E. Lee.

So who’s challenging you with what-if questions?

imposter syndrome

Get Good at Imposter Syndrome

Discomfort means you are playing at a new level. Here’s how to get good at it.

Why It Matters

The same habits that got you to a $10m company will not get you to $100m. You can run a $10m, company through brute force and expertise. Try that approach at $100m, and you’ll be the reason your company fails.

You must grow into a WHY leader to succeed at $100m, which means shedding your body armor and relying on your subordinates’ expertise.

You’ll experience fear and anxiety along the way; below are good ways to handle that.

Worry if you don’t feel distressed. It means you are in a comfort zone, firmly cased in your body armor, and unable to grow.

By the Numbers

Imposter syndrome is typical and can be healthy:

Take These Steps to Get Good at Imposter Syndrome

  • Label the emotion. “I am feeling anxiety” because getting it into the open lessens the feeling’s power.
  • Determine what’s causing the emotion. “I am feeling anxiety because I’m not confident that Kevin can handle the job I used to do myself.”
  • Identify an advance and a retreat. Advancing action brings you closer to your goals and values; retreat takes you further away. “Developing Kevin and developing my ability to develop Kevin is an advance. Doing the job myself is a retreat.”
  • Take action. Invest in advance.
  • Avoid positive rescripting and happy talk because struggling with the emotion strengthens the feelings.
  • You are better off accepting the emotion and taking advancing action.
  • When you feel like you are thriving, look for new ways to grow. The right coach will keep you from being trapped in a comfort zone.
get good at imposter syndrome

Abraham Lincoln made 1mm adjustments to deal with imposter syndrome. His legendary melancholy never faded, but he developed non-stylistic techniques to manage it. In this 30-minute live discussion, I’ll share the practices that worked for him and how you can work them into your 1mm adjustments so that you advance toward your values and goals.

Going Deeper.

Imposter Syndrome is a tape playing in your head that you aren’t good enough to do the job. Russ Harris explains in The Happiness Trap that the most common advice — positive scripting — is counterproductive.

Imagine your favorite dessert — think about the flavor and texture and how much you enjoy eating it. Now, try to stop yourself from thinking about the dessert, and you’ll find the images keep coming back.

It’s the same with anxiety. Try to push the thought away or put a positive spin on it, and the fear tends to return more frequently. Struggling with the emotion hooks you. Obeying it can move you further away from the kind of leader you want to be if it leads to retreating action.

Growing requires you to get good at handling discomfort, which means you need productive ways to deal with the tape playing in your head.

You reduce its grip when you label the emotion (“I notice that I am feeling fear”). You can identify the sources of the fear and take action that moves you toward your goals and values (advancing action) while avoiding activities that move you away (retreating steps).

Not feeling imposter syndrome could indicate that you are not pushing the envelope far enough, avoiding risk, and settling into your comfort zone. Complacency kills.


Trust: The Single Most Important Thing You Need To Know About it

Trust intersects three factors: reciprocity, competence, and reliability. Reciprocity means the relationship is a two-way street: both parties are better off.

The single most important thing you need to know about trust is reciprocity, which will make or break your small business or solo practice.

Suppose you are like many small business CEOs and have frustrations with employee disengagement and turnover, lack of buy-in, and poor accountability. In that case, you probably have a low-trust workplace that’s damaging your profitability, sustainability, and peace of mind.

“Compared with people at low-trust companies,” a study in Harvard Business Review reports, “people at high-trust companies report: 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, 40% less burnout.”


How would you feel having fifty percent higher productivity, lower absenteeism, and tremendous energy?

For solo practitioners, common objections from your prospects, such as lack of time, money, or need, are reflections of a trust deficit. Your prospective clients ask themselves, “do I feel safe, will the support be helpful, is the juice worth the squeeze?”  Competence is the ability to do your job to the required standards, and reliability is that you will do what you say you will do.

Competence is the ability to do your job to the required standards, and reliability is that you will do what you say you will do.

You need all three in place to have a trusting relationship. Without reciprocity, you have one party taking advantage of the other. Lack of competence means underperformance, and poor reliability creates inconsistency.

The element most often missing in low-trust situations is reciprocity.

I spoke with a company executive who complained that she did not have the budget for leadership training and that the CEO wouldn’t reallocate any money.

She’s facing workplace burnout, employee turnover, and presentism — where people are (or appear to be) physically present but are unengaged and unproductive. Helping her direct reports become better leaders would alleviate these problems and allow her to focus on growth and innovation rather than getting stuck in failure work and dispute resolution.

These problems are costing the company millions.

She’s facing workplace burnout, employee turnover, and presentism — where people are (or appear to be) physically present but are unengaged and unproductive. Helping her direct reports become better leaders would alleviate these problems and allow her to focus on growth and innovation rather than getting stuck in failure work and dispute resolution.

These problems are costing the company millions.

The CEO makes $20 million annually; the next highest-paid person makes a fraction. He could reallocate .01 percent of his annual salary to develop key subordinates and see a 10:1 return on investment or higher payoff for the company.

The problem, of course, is that the CEO has little incentive to improve things. He’ll get a massive payout even if he’s fired for underperforming. Burnout, turnover, and presentism are symptoms of an overall lack of trust within the company.

The senior leaders are violating the gardener’s principle: the responsibility to provide the cultivation so that the best version of each person blooms.

Gardner’s till the soil and feed the plants to stimulate growth. They prune away anything preventing the plant from being its best self. They do not try to turn one vegetable into another.

When you cultivate your employees to become their best selves, they’ll respond by contributing their best to your company’s success.

The employees at this company, I’m told, see the vast discrepancies in salary and unwillingness to invest in them. The relationship seems one way.

The employees thus treat the company as a commodity — a bargaining chip to a better-paying job at a different company.

The gardener’s principle works for solo practitioners, too. When you show how you help your clients achieve their dreams and be the heroes of their own stories, they’ll drop the money, time, and need objections.


There’s still time to register for Joyful Sales Conversations, where I’ll show you how to put the gardener’s principle into action. When you create trust, you will transform your business.

June 17th & 28th 11:00 – 11:30 am US Central (plus 30-minutes for Q&A afterward)


It’s a Thin Line Between Insanity, Wishfulness, and Complacency; Don’t Cross Either 1

What insanity, wishful thinking, and complacency have in common is the belief that doing the same things over and over will create success.

Einstein famously remarked that a definition of insanity was doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. Presumably, he meant better rather than worse results. We won’t get healthier, for instance, by practicing the same habits that created our current condition.

Einstein’s definition is closely related to wishful thinking — doing the same thing over and over again and expecting BETTER results. Americans saw that problem play out in places like Afghanistan. With minor variations, the U.S. government did the same things repeatedly and expected things to improve rather than continue their downward spiral.

On the other hand, complacency is doing the same things repeatedly and expecting the SAME results. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” is fine for mechanical devices and rote tasks but shortens your path to ruin on almost everything else.
Sears expected their catalog-based shopping and mall-centered stores would continue delivering profits. They made only minor adjustments when the digital age arrived. Today, Sears is out of business while Amazon thrives. Blockbuster expected people to keep on coming to stores for movie rentals. Netflix crushed them. Toys R US face-planted. IBM saved a few bucks by renting instead of buying MS-DOS and went from the undisputed leader in the PC business to a humiliating exit from it.

Innovation is your complacency-vaccine. New practices and habits are the best ways to leap plateaus, shatter artificial barriers, and remove arbitrary finish lines. The best athletes vary their workouts. Military units alter the conditions under which they perform battle drills. The most agile thinkers read a variety of disciplines and views. Innovation keeps you out of comforting ruts.

The comfort zone for owners, consultants, and experts is a powerful intoxicant.

You’ve been successful, and there’s no reason, you believe, for future success to look much different than present success. This common condition is called presentism. Business failure begins with a lack of imagination.

What are you doing to boost innovation? Who are the mentors and advisers who will bring in the fresh air? What events will you attend that expand your perspective and help you see your future from new points of view?  

Accelerating your Success

Consulting Mastery is my 8-week mastery program for consultants and experts who want to build a meaningful, joyful, and profitable business and take it to new heights. This program, a variant of FOCUSED, orients exclusively on consultants and experts. I’ll run this program twice in 2022. We meet once per week for 90 minutes via zoom. The program begins in late January; only eight spaces are available. Your investment is $4500 by January 15; then, the fee rises to $5500. Most participants say that the program pays for itself in the first two weeks. Click here for more information and to apply.

Predictable unpredictability is a new reality. How will you help your clients thrive? The Innovation Mindset is an 8-week mastermind that begins in February. We’ll examine the most important 2022 forecasts for implications to small business leaders, consultants, and experts. Each week, the group meets for 90-minutes to develop unique intellectual property that sets you apart from the pack (who’s always swinging behind the pitch) and gives you significant competitive advantages in serving your clients. Your investment will pay for itself in a single sale. I’m limiting the group to 8; the fee is $5500. Reply to this email to see if the program is a good fit for you.

The Trusted Adviser Program is my most intensive 1-on-1 program. Within 90 days, you’ll gain sustainable habits that create breakthrough success. You get personalized coaching and support, strict accountability, and commonsense action steps that get results so that you reach your goals more quickly and consistently. Soar to new heights here.

CEO Mastermind group
 is for Milwaukee-area small business leaders and consultants who want to accelerate their growth in 2022. We meet monthly for lunch, and you get unlimited access to me for coaching and advising. I’m limiting the group to 8. Four places are remaining. Reply to me for more details.


Powerful Forecasts: 2022 and Beyond for Consultants, Experts, and Leaders

I Focused my Forecasts for 2022 and Beyond on Trends most Relevant for Small Businesses, Consultants, and Experts.

I’ll host an 8-week mastermind group in January to discuss the implications of these forecasts and others so that you can provide vital thought leadership to your clients and anticipate the future for your business.

1. The Inflation bubble bursts. Due to employee turnover and inflation, small businesses will fail at a historic rate. COVID has decreased tolerance of bad bosses and poor work environments. Inflation rises to 4% if BBB fails and 6% if BBB passes, forcing many poorly-led, low-margin small businesses to close. High-margin solo and expert businesses will thrive.


2. Landgrabs. Russia and China seek to time moves against Ukraine and Taiwan, respectively, on signals that President Biden’s health fails. Iran and North Korea will do the same with their nuclear weapons and missile programs. A gulf state reveals its atomic weapons program in response to Iran’s.

3. Change for a BitCoin? Countries will begin to adopt crypto as alternate reserve currencies in response to America’s increasing weaponization of the dollar; investors will add crypto to their portfolios to hedge against inflation.

4. Trades strike back. Companies will lose confidence in supply chains that include overseas vendors. Local manufacturing and storage will rebound. Elite snobbery that the only road to a dignified professional life is an expensive 4-year degree will reduce. More people will enter trades and find substantial prosperity, independence, and joy.

5. Waking up to Woke. Businesses stop hiring consultants who pedal revenge racism and begin hiring people who improve teamwork. The best companies will hold CEOs and line managers responsible for diversity and inclusion; women and non-whites will gain a more significant share of P&L roles.

6. 280 characters fewer. Trust in conventional news outlets, experts, and punditry will continue declining, forcing at least one primary news channel, newspaper, and social media platform to close. People will turn increasingly to trusted advisers for perspective.

7. Revenge of the Nerds. Zillow Offers is the tip of an iceberg. Businesses that rely on AI platforms for customer relations and marketing will face significant setbacks because they act as a blunt instrument when customers expect concierge service. Hackers will learn to spoof AI decision-making tools by acting more like humans and luring machine decisions into unproductive corners.
8. AC Anyone? Climate change debates will shift towards alleviating the effects of rising sea levels and warmer temperatures. Wisconsin’s climate by 2040 will be like Tennessee’s in 2010.

9. Rolling Green-outs. Fossil fuels and nuclear power will make a comeback as a reliable base for energy supply. During extreme weather events, cities that rely on renewables will face significant power outages. Global predators will intensify cyberattacks against vulnerable power grids.

10. The open office is dead. Hybrid workplaces are here to stay. The most innovative companies will create in-office requirements based on need rather than arbitrary percentages. The most talented will seek jobs with those companies.

11. COVID theater closes. Companies will reduce wasteful activities that do little or nothing to stop the spread of COVID. The major media will reduce COVID-hype. The vaccinated will begin to revolt against COVID-control mandates because the virus is spread overwhelmingly by the unvaccinated and the vaccinated are tired of feeling punished. More businesses will require proof of vaccination or infection within the past six months for entry and employment. Vaccine boosters will be annual as COVID becomes endemic.

12. Big Red Resurgence. The Nebraska Cornhuskers football team will go to the BIG 10 championship game in 2022.

The Innovation Mindset Group is an 8-week mastermind that examines these trends and others for implications to small business leaders, consultants, and experts. We’ll meet for 90-minutes each week and develop unique thought leadership that will help you anticipate the needs of your businesses and clients. Your investment will pay for itself in a single sale. I’m limiting the group to 8. $4500 if you enroll by December 31, then the fee goes to $5500. Click here and scroll to the bottom to register to learn more about this limited time offer.