I’ve always been interested in the study of the future and have several good friends who are futurists, but I don’t consider my self a futurist. Anybody can predict the future, but predicting it correctly is very difficult. That’s why I’ve focused more on being a presentologist.
What is a presentologist? It is someone who pays close attention to the present to determine what to do about it. Science fiction legend Williams Gibson said, “The future has already happened. It’s just unequally distributed.”
The present gives some pretty good clues to the future if we study it and consistently ask the question, “So what should I do, if anything, about this?” Another important skill for presentologists is a basic understanding of history. In many ways, things haven’t changed that much. Technology has impacted the speed and complexity of how historical themes play themselves out, but the underlying principles are often identifiable. It was Hegel who lamented, “Man learns nothing from history.” Knowing what to do about history is more important than just knowing history.
Finally, a good presentologist is less interested in what might happen than in what he or she can make happen. If leadership is about positive influence, then good leaders should be pretty good presentologists because they’re charged with making positive things happen in their organizations and communities.