Ascendis Blog

How to Anticipate Future Needs

Have you ever been asked to “think out of the box?” We may have all heard this phrase, but we are not clear on what it means to think outside of the box when it comes to our leadership style. When it comes to the everyday responsibilities of an emerging leader, you need to shift to a mindset of “bigger boxes.” 

Here are a series of boxes that reflect a variety of environments. While you may not have control over the contextual and the transactional environments, you have a say in how you lead yourself, lead others, and lead your organization. You and your employees will react to the changes from the external environments based on your leadership abilities. For example, as the economy changes, your company must assess the impact of this change to remain relevant. 

Whether your company decides to continue on its original path or change to adapt to customer needs is driven by the quality of thought leadership in your organization. 

You can also anticipate the future for your unit and your company if you think bigger. Consider some of the following questions as you work from the outside in:

  • What’s going on in your contextual environment that will affect your industry? For example, will a growing economy drive industry expansion? 

  • What’s going on in your transaction environment that will affect your company? For example, in 2020 many companies realized that their dependence on Chinese manufacturing caused massive supply chain problems when the coronavirus epidemic hit. 

  • What’s going on in your company that will affect your unit and how well you translate strategy into action? For example, the turn-of-the-century emphasis on shareholder value brought increased cost reduction pressure to many departments.

As a leader, you must anticipate future needs and observe changes that occur in the bigger boxes to fully understand the impact on your organization. How prepared are you as a leader to tackle the future? To find out, contact the Ascendis Leadership Academy to take the Organizational Leadership Skills Profile. Please contact Sue Drake at for an overview of the Profile and ways in which it may be used in your organization.