Leading into the Future I: An Introduction

Leading into the Future I: An Introduction

“The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be!” This is one of those classic lines from Yogi Berra. It’s a statement that makes absolutely no sense.: “Of course the future is different from the past, that’s why it’s called the future you idiot!” Yet, like all of Yogi’s comments, it addresses an essential truth and is rich with insight about the remarkable world in which we live. Yes, in some fundamental way, the future we now face is different in both substance and character from any future being faced by us in past years. We speak of this as an emerging “postmodern” world that defies traditional description, prediction or analysis. Given this postmodern condition, the title of this series of essays (Leading into the Future) makes no sense. Not only is the future different today from what it was in the past, planning for, organizing and leading on behalf of the future is a difficult if not absurd task for anyone to undertake. This series of essays is all about the challenging (and perhaps absurd) task of preparing for a future world that has not yet revealed itself.

I first attempted to project into the future when I wrote and published The Postmodern Organization: Managing the Art of Irreversible Change (Bergquist, 2003). Apparently, I was somewhat successful in taking on this task, having been identified by several organizational theorists as the founder of a new “postmodern” school of organizational theory. I would suggest that this honor is not appropriately assigned to me, since many other highly qualified and insight-filled theorists have journeyed into the domain of postmodernism as related to organizational functioning. (for example, Clegg, 1990; see also Hatch, 2006). However, I do take some credit for accurately predicting some of the trends in organizational life and in identifying some of the major challenges that would be facing organizational leaders during the last years of the 20th Century and first decades of the 21st Century. Most importantly, I did a fairly good job of describing a fundamental shift that was occurring in contemporary organizations and societies –the shift to a postmodern perspective and accompanying life patterns and priorities. And, it seems that the subtitle of my 1993 book was also accurate: these shifts are irreversible. Postmodernism is here to stay – until there is yet another seismic shift.

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About the Author

William Bergquist

William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant, professor in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 45 books, and president of a graduate school of psychology. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations. His graduate school (The Professional School of Psychology: www.psychology.edu) offers Master and Doctoral degrees in both clinical and organizational psychology to mature, accomplished adults.

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