08/31/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

How Do You Create the Future?

Being a CEO coach, people often ask me, "How do you create the future?" Here is my answer. Imagine the world is a dance floor and the rhythm and flow of the band is "The Life Force," which infuses everything. The multidimensional flow of the band seems irresistible, yet some stand against the wall not knowing how to jump in, and many are not even aware of the dance. They have heard people talk about it, but can't seem to hear or feel the flow of the music. Those who feel it deeply dance like gods and goddesses in the middle of the floor creating a vortex of energy and motion that draws new dancers into their circle.

The band, which represents "The Life Force," naturally lures people onto the floor to dance in a rhythm and harmony that seems to come from outside them. Of those out on the floor, many dance out of rhythm most of the time, but have moments of grace. Others have a routine that they have worked out over the years which works for them, but only captures a small part of the rhythm. Some have a routine and experiment momentarily with new movements, but mostly go back to what they know. Those who feel the music deeply dance adding rhythms and counter rhythms and seem to be an extension of "The Life Force" that passes through the band.

Without knowing, many start to follow the waves of energy coming from the leaders and the overall quality of the dance improves. At some point in time magic occurs. The beauty and energy of the lead dancers is so compelling that the band itself is drawn into the dance creating new rhythms and flows as the two join and create new realities.

Likewise, "The Life Force" creates Life and Life influences "The Life Force," just as the band creates the rhythm and flow and changes, because the lead dancers energy becomes part of the rhythm and flow. The only way to create the future is to engage, like the dancers, with the rhythm and flow of the present; and by doing so you become a co-creator. It is not about wishing and hoping as the popular book "The Secret" would suggest. The various rhythms and flows of business markets are subsets of the rhythm and flow of "The Life Force," which animates everything. Both can be influenced in the manner just described. Great leaders have discovered and mastered this secret.

The flow of market wants and needs is like the complex themes, harmonies, and rhythms in music. Your team must spend lots of time dancing with those rhythms to know how to influence the flow of the dance. Your team, products and services must dance first with the rhythm and flow of the present, then lead. There is no substitute for this kind of presence in your target market, and like dancing to a good band, or being in "The Zone" in sports, it is a blast! The energies of the market will feed you and your creativity will lead the flow of the market.