THE ART AND SCIENCE OF INNOVATIVE COLLABORATION: THE FUTURE OF DEMOCRACY AND HUMANITY
White’s legend provides an apt metaphor for a ‘future-first’ perspective that successfully instills strategic intent in organizations and its people.
The Merlin Factor is a way of living in the world, and the ability to think from the point of view of the future. It’s the ability to enlist people as Ambassadors who listen, speak, and act on behalf of that future, and become committed to performance breakthroughs that explode existing cultural limits on what’s possible.
The premise is that the principal impediment to changing an organization’s strategic direction is its existing culture: that is, people’s current beliefs about the limits of what is possible. Changing people’s beliefs about the future can produce extraordinary improvements in relationships, quality management, technical innovation, customer service and profitability.
The reference is to the legendary sage who, according to one account, “lived backward in time.” Merlin was born in the future and aged as he proceeded into the past, influencing events in King Arthur’s court by drawing on his foreknowledge of their destined outcomes. Exceptional leaders cultivate the Merlin-like habit of acting in the present moment as ambassadors of a radically different future, in order to imbue their organizations and people a breakthrough vision of what it is possible to achieve.
The Merlin Factor works because how you feel and your confidence, usually comes from the future you anticipate. It may seem that how we feel comes from our past, but most times positivity comes from looking forward to an attractive future. Normally and often, we put our past into our future, which confounds the possibility.