It’s been a joy and a pleasure to work with so many wonderful, curious and successful people, leaders, teams and organisations all over the world over 2022.
Last year was a big year of adjustment as we came out of the pandemic. There was so much to navigate from WFH to WFO to WFA, from hyper-flexibility, to the ‘new normal’ to the great resignation.
At 4D HumanBeing we constantly keep our ears to the ground about what is coming next. So, as we stride our way into the New Year, let’s buckle up for the ride ahead and take a look at new and continuing themes that leaders, team and organisations need to be aware of in 2023.
Here are 4D’s Top 10 Trends for the year ahead:
2023 is going to be all about energy – your energy as an individual, a team and as a business. Your personal energy resource plays a huge part in your WellBeing, creativity, motivation, relationships and life experience. You will need enough of it to live well, happily and healthily. Don’t panic though – living on full crazy, 24/7, powerhouse energy is all very nineties and naughties. In 2023, rather than feeling the need to be on constant, high energy – this year the key is to live, play and work with ‘smart energy.’ By smart energy we mean the ability to use and focus your personal energy intelligently. This means recognising what and who energises or de-energises you, working at a sustainable pace, prioritising where you place your energy and focusing your effort where you create most value. This also means not working frantically, not working excessive hours and not allowing diaries or SM platforms to be your 24/7 taskmaster.
2022 has seen an energy crisis all over the world. An energy crisis that has left many industries, businesses and homeowners struggling to keep going or has even resulted in businesses shutting down. While this energy crisis has made headlines, there’s another human energy crisis that has equally left people struggling to keep going or even seen them shutting down entirely through burnout. In the same way that we face a global energy supply crisis – we also need to wake up to our own personal energy supply and use.
According to Forbes “burnout is widespread across the globe. A new study by Asana, looked at over 10,000 knowledge workers across seven countries, and found approximately 70% of people experienced burnout in the last year.”
Whichever stats you look at there can be no doubt that burnout has hugely increased.
2023 is the year for action, for less talking and more doing and for getting on with making things happen. However, it is also the year to do all this with a clear focus on working and living ‘energy smart.’ This year is all about that you, your leaders, teams and organisations getting more centred, grounded, intentional and discerning about where you choose to use up your precious energy – so you can stay well, happy, creative and engaged for a lot longer.
- Recognise what work, topics, issues, projects and people plug you in and light you up!
- Conserve your energy for when it counts!
Recognise what energises you, explore your purpose and learn to set clear boundaries through our 4D Leadership, Teams and WellBeing Programmes:
4D Leadership Development, 4D Team Performance and 4D Workplace WellBeing as well as our digital course 4DOnDemand WellBeing which is coming soon.
2. Unphased by Uncertainty - UBU
Trend number two is all about becoming even more comfortable in uncertainty. The successful leaders who can encourage their people to flourish and follow in 2023 will be those who are able to stand in the face of uncertainty and rise to the challenge. These are the leaders who are not frightened of the unknown, but rather who find confidence and strength in the excitement of building together into the void. These leaders not only tolerate but embrace rapid change and uncertainty. They are able to see the potential and the possible in the challenge of change and the confusion of chaos. They can see the connections in the craziness and the links and integrations that will create brilliant new innovations and ways of working. They are agile, curious, flex and flow leaders who find stability not in old, solid, tired corporate structures but in the energy and movement of systems where possibility and co-creation are key.
These leaders are true Systems thinkers. In the language of Spiral Dynamics, they are ‘second tier leaders’ operating from what Don Beck calls Yellow and Turquoise value systems and what Ken Wilber and Frederic Laloux name Teal. Second Tier leaders don’t force a course of action. They try to listen to where the organisation is naturally called to go and are able to trust that connections will emerge, are able to build into the unknown and when needed, to change course rapidly. As I wrote in a 4D article, at the end of last year ‘Welcome to the Age of Soft Skills’ – these leaders embrace the art of improvisation. They are able to be fully in the present moment, working with what is available and at the same time able to make exciting connections to shape a new, vibrant sense of solidity and certainty, based on collaboration and deeper shared meaning.
When it comes to the greatest change process of all – Evolution – it was never the survival of the fittest…it was always survival of the most adaptable. So, adaptability and creativity are the key to successful response to changing times.
The only thing constant in life is change. It’s time to stop wasting energy talking about the fact that things change (the WHAT) or WHY they might be changing – and start putting our focus on HOW we consciously want to respond. By embracing uncertainty and the skills of improvisation – ‘change’ suddenly becomes full of opportunity. When we are more focused on the collective system rather than ourselves, we can truly start to courageously co-create … in the moment.
Business Improvisation is poised to be the next “killer app” for organisational growth and performance. It is a highly valuable tool designed to enhance the, leadership, resilience, creativity, adaptability and productivity of an organisation’s most valuable asset – its people.
The Improviser mindset
- Improvisers don’t fear failure – in fact they embrace it
- Improvisers know it is not a solo sport. We’re all in it together. Sharing responsibility and all having each other’s backs.
- Improvisers know creativity is temporary and disposable – and yet improvisors play in with their full selves with courage and commitment.
- Improvisers are excellent at listening, making offers, accept offers and building
The skill of improvisation can be clearly mapped onto the skill of leadership:
- The worst improvisers “block”
- Average improvisers will passively but agreeably “play”
- The good ones “build”
- The great ones know how to build AND make great offers to give their partners a good time
- The very best improvisers not only fully ‘play in’ – they have their eye on the longer arc of where an idea might be going, ready to drop an idea or adapt and course correct in an instance
To be ‘Second Tier’ UBU leader in 2023 – it’s time to get good at the art of improvisation!
- Get excited about uncertainty – think about a time you moved through uncertainty and built a new path
- Stop thinking obstacle and start thinking opportunity, stop thinking problem and think possibility
As experts in the art of improvisation and leadership, 4D can help you take your leaders and business to 2nd tier – Unphased By Uncertainty and embracing the art of improvisation.
Check out: Business and Team Improvisation programmes, The 4D Improvisation Keynote and full transformational 4D Culture Change initiatives.
3. Communicating Vision
Trend number 3 for 2023 is all about communicating vision. Yes, you need to be a visionary and have the idea in the first place, and as, or maybe more, important than HAVING the vision, is the ability to COMMUNICATE the vision. To be persuasive, convincing and inspiring.
In a time of such rapid change, uncertainty and fear – leaders, teams and businesses need to get very good at communicating future visions that inspire people to follow. This means leaders need to become world-class storytellers. Not only able to tell stories from the past to strengthen their messages – but able to create stories of inspiring visions of the future that move people to step forward with confidence. Creating and communicating vision for others means waking people from fear and apathy, breaking them free from the powerful pull of negative news, communicating a new vision that inspires people to act with meaning, motivation, unity and hope. A leader who is able to communicate a strong vision for others loves to use their skills of imagination and communication.
This leader trend of ‘vision communication’ is all about possibility, positivity, believability, relatability, trustability, and storytelling to create inspiration, community and fellowship.
- Allow yourself more time this year dreaming about an exciting future – it’s not time wasted!
- Using all five senses, communicate a vibrant picture of what the future could look like.
Business Storytelling Programme and our 4DOnDemand Storytelling Series.
Personal and Leadership impact will be vital in 2023. While ongoing relationship and trust building remain important – in an increasingly instant world, the instant impact you make when you walk into a room, step onto a stage or click into a video call – it is going to count and count BIG.
Your impact is all about:
- How you Communicate
- How you Show Up
- How you Respond
- How you Feel
- How Other People Feel About You
- How Other People Talk About You
To stay ahead of the curve, impactful and relevant in the current fast-paced environment, leaders need to get super good at making a fast, memorable impact that is at the same time genuine, real, human, relatable, connected and caring. It’s no longer enough to show up in your ‘work persona’– your impact in 2023 needs to reflect a far more grounded, human, integrated version of yourself. This is about world class communication skills becoming a part of WHO you are, everyday, in every moment. You as a leader making an engaging and memorable impact not because you have to but because you are so connected to your message and purpose that you couldn’t show up in any other way.
In a business and social media world that is fighting for audience attention, it will be those that instantly connect who will succeed. This means moving into what Patsy Rodenburg calls 2nd Circle. In the 1st Circle we communicate with a more withdrawn energy that is focused on the data and content of what we have to say. In the 3rd Circle we broadcast, with a generalised energy. In 2nd Circle we connect with our audience in real dialogue – we are ‘present.’
Once you get the energy connected, you want to think about opening statements. Think less about data or stats and more about universal truths – those experiences that connect us as human beings. You might open with words like: ‘You know when you…” “If you’re anything like me you find that…” “We can all feel…” “Wouldn’t it be great if we could…”
With truly connecting energy and words – you will both stand out and grab our attention through the instant impact of the real, genuine, unique you. And by the way, the increase of technology won’t reduce the importance of human impact! With the rise of AI, there’s still no escape from how vital leadership impact and communication skills are going to be. In fact, as tech increases, your big differentiator is the impact you as a human can make!
- Focus as much or more on HOW you communicate as WHAT you communicate?
- Make the first 5 seconds of any meeting intentional and impactful.
One of the big trends in 2023 is going to be the final decline of the over-long, data-heavy presentation. The days of long, scripted presentations over-stuffed with slides that are themselves over-stuffed with graphs, data and information are over. Not only are we bored to death by this format, research tells us that only 7 days after a presentation, your audience remembers no more than 10% of what you said. We can do better! When it comes to sharing business ideas, strategies, updates and information, the big shift is from big, set, scripted presentations to a more concise and at the same time fluid, natural way of communicating.
The trend for 2023 will be about getting very clear on the 10% you want your audience to remember and then – communicating that. And if possible – making your presentation an interactive experience.
In short: keep your ‘presentation’ to the 10% that matters and get the audience involved.
Not only that but it’s time to get off script. You need to get that information off the page and into your body, heart and soul. This means preparing presentations in a totally different way. You can start by noting down your key points, as a guide and then standing up and practicing speaking your message over and over and over until it’s in your body. Yes, that’s right! Presentation prep no longer means days and weeks writing scripts and half an hour standing up to ‘give it a go’ by reading from the script. This year’s trend is about being able to present information and ideas in a fluid, seemingly off-the-cuff, natural, connected, concise way. It’s about reconnecting to what you enjoy and love about what you do and to express that passion to your audience.
If you really want your audience to have the other 90% of content – don’t worry! Because in 2023 another trend definitely continues – content is still king. This year, people will only get more and more hungry for content. While we will no longer accept being talked AT in a presentation format for hours on end – we will engage in long form dialogues, extended conversations and short videos. So while there may be a decline in slide-packed presentations, there will an increase in Podcasts, Panels and Posts.
Podcasts are set to rise by another 40 million listeners this year to approximately 464 million listeners. With the mobile phone being by far the most popular way to listen to podcasts.
Following the increasing trend of podcasts, when it comes to business events and conferences – conversational panels are going to be far more popular than standard presentations this year. These more informal, fluid, spontaneous formats can last for hours and create huge opportunities to engage employees and customers away from the more formal presentation style format.
Finally, posting video content – whether internally to teams and employees or publicly on SM channels – is a must. As a population we are loving video content as a way of taking on new information and ideas. 80% of people said that videos had helped persuade them to buy a product and 40% love seeing explainer videos. In 2023 leaders will be recording and posting many more entertaining videos to inform and engage their teams.
To, this year, it’s about:
1. Concise and more natural presentations 2. Longer spontaneous conversations 3. Short engaging video content.
The trend across all these formats is a real, down-to-earth, conversational style of communication that is heartfelt and personal. Consumers and employees are wise to what is genuine, and this year, only if your presentation truly means something to you – will it truly mean something to your audience.
- Focus on the key 10% of your message, think structure not script, jewel not general, bullseye not board
- Imagine you only have 1 minute to present – what is your core message
You can check out our live 4D Presentation Skills Training as well as our digital 4DOnDemand Presentation Skills Series
Do get in touch if you’d like to talk about how 4D can help you, your leaders and your business communicate, connect and create in 2023.
Lots of love to you all you fabulous folks. Take care of yourselves and enjoy seeing what’s possible along the way!
4D Human Being Podcast
Check out the 4D Human Being podcast where Philippa and Penelope run through the first five Top Ten Trends of 2023 in detail.