The Lead: Forecasting Economic Trends, A New Today Show Anchor

The Lead, AchieveForum’s weekly brief of leadership news and insights, provides quick clarity into relevant headlines and straight-forward analysis for applying effective leadership tools and techniques.

Forecasting Economic Trends for 2018

Jim Lee is a professional futurist who identifies and forecasts economic, social, technological, ecological, and political trends, threats, and opportunities. Lee’s firm manages about $20 million in assets for around 30 clients, and in a volatile market, portfolio managing is tough. Lee says, “things really kind of went non-linear a few years ago. You can’t draw a straight-line forecast on anything these days,” and “from an investing perspective, getting in the right industries is more important than having the right style or focusing on the right market capitalization.”

Our View: Gain a leadership advantage by forecasting often and regularly. Stay alert to emerging trends and eliminate blindspots by forecasting with others. To avoid groupthink, speak with industry experts, your customers, and others outside your business about trends they have noticed. Further Reading

The McVegan Burger

As the demand increases for plant-based diets, fast food chains are taking notice. McDonald’s has started selling a McVegan burger in hundreds of restaurants across Sweden and Finland. The McVegan burger was developed in partnership with a specialty Norwegian food company, and the burger’s ingredients include a soy patty, bun, tomato, lettuce, pickles, onion, ketchup, mustard, oil, and an egg-less sandwich sauce.

Our View: Like having a plant-based diet, there are many other daily habits that can make positive environmental impacts. Businesses are in a position to accelerate these environmental improvements, and many leaders are realizing that going beyond environmental compliance makes good business sense and can help improve their long term success. Further Reading

Threats to China’s Economy

It is predicted that China’s economic expansion will slow in 2018, and China will have to tackle domestic debt, poverty, and pollution. Higher interest rates and trade war threats from the U.S. are other critical threats that must be addressed. 

Our View: Leaders must identify and prepare for situations or conditions that will move growth, revenues, or profits higher (also known as tailwinds) and situations or conditions that make growth harder (also known as headwinds). A strong grasp on how these factors affect your business expands your business acumen and ability to adjust to external forces. Further Reading

Hoda Kotb Replaces Matt Lauer on NBC’s “Today” Show 

In a popular decision, Hoda Kotb will replace Matt Lauer on the “Today” show and co-host it with Savannah Guthrie. “Over the past several weeks, Hoda has seamlessly stepped into the co-anchor role alongside Savannah, and the two have quickly hit the ground running,” NBC News chairman Andy Lack wrote. “They have an undeniable connection with each other and most importantly, with viewers, a hallmark of ‘Today.’”

Our View: How well leaders manage the transitions at their organizations influences their business outcomes. Challenges to successful transitions arise, so leaders must be committed to change. Good questions they can ask themselves during transitions are “what long-standing and existing relationships do you have within your company?” and “how should they change when you start your transition?” Further Reading

Investopedia’s 2017 Top Search Terms

Bitcoin, blockchain, and FAANG were among the top three search terms in 2017 on Investopedia, the online glossary of terms. Investopedia’s CEO David Siegel shared that more visitors to the site were reading about bitcoin than retirement last year, and to manage the growing search requests, they hired a full time editor for the space.

Our View: Choosing the right time to create a new role or expand your team is an important leadership skill to exercise that helps your organization grow. Carefully consider whether to hire in advance, wait until the need is obvious, or hire someone part time. Weigh the pros and cons of the time and training needed with each option. Further Reading

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