Future-Proof Your Company by Hiring a Chief Future Officer With These Critical Qualities It's time to plan for your company's future now. Hire wisely when choosing your Chief Future Officer to navigate the uncertain road ahead.

By Adam Horlock

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A chief future officer is one of the most critical positions for companies to fill in their C-suite. However, it is not enough to fill this position and ask the new executive to plan for the future. Hire wisely, and ensure this critical person can act quickly to maintain market share and find new paths to take market share in the future.

As new and faster innovation disrupts almost every industry, companies not planning are left behind. A chief future officer is one of the most critical positions for companies to fill in their C-suite. However, it is not enough to fill this position and ask the new executive to plan for the future. Hire wisely, and ensure this critical person can act quickly to maintain market share and find new paths to take market share in the future.

As the business world becomes increasingly complex and uncertain, more and more companies are creating chief future officer (CFO) positions. The CFO oversees the company's long-term planning and ensures it remains adaptive and responsive to changing conditions. This role is necessary because it provides a clear focus on the future, which is essential for making sound strategic decisions.

The CFO is also responsible for monitoring trends and identifying opportunities for the company to capitalize on and adopt. In addition, the CFO serves as a central point of communication between different departments and functions within the company, which ensures that everyone is working towards common goals. Ultimately, the chief future officer position is essential for companies that want to stay ahead of current innovation and remain competitive in today's ever-changing business landscape.

Related: 6 Key Trends That Will Change How You Do Business

A realistic approach to the future

chief future officers need to be realistic about the future of their business. Everything accomplished will be replaced by someone or something else. The question is not whether or not this will happen but whether or not your company will be the one to make the replacement. chief future officers need to be proactive in finding new ways to accomplish growth and develop new products or services. Otherwise, a competitor will come along and replace both your products and your company. chief future officers must constantly look for new opportunities and threats to keep their businesses ahead of the competition.

The urgency of now

chief future officers understand the urgency of now. The future is not a destination — it's a journey. Currently, there is no greater disruptive category than tech. Finding new solutions with technologies such as cloud-based solutions, advanced robotics, IoT, and AI is not enough. Instead, a seasoned CFO asks how their company can find ways to replace those technologies. A chief future officer's role isn't to predict the future but rather to prepare the company for it. They need to be comfortable with ambiguity and constant change. They need to have a vision for the company's future and the ability to align that vision with the ever-changing landscape. chief future officers need to start now because the future is already here.

Chief future officers (CFOs) must understand that even their position will change and be subject to change or replacement. The future is hard to predict, and what works today may not work tomorrow. CFOs need to be aware of this and be prepared to adapt their plans accordingly. They also need to justify their actions to the rest of the organization, as chief future officers will be called upon to make decisions that may seem unpopular in the short term but are necessary for the company's long-term success. CFOs need to have a clear vision for the future and be able to articulate it to others. They also need to make decisions quickly and efficiently, as the future can move faster than expected. Chief future officers must be prepared to navigate a lot of change, both in their own position and in the world around them.

Related: 4 Trends That Are Shaping the Future of Work

Disruption, disruption, and more disruption

Finally, the chief future officer must be more disruptive than a competitor. In the primary role of "future-proofing" the company, they are responsible for disrupting the status quo and maintaining the tension between sustainability and strategy. In other words, a chief future officer is tasked with ensuring that a company is prepared for whatever the future may hold — and that means being proactive about change rather than simply reacting to it.

As the chief future officer of a company, it is your job to look ahead to the future and identify growth opportunities. This involves attacking everything that has built the business so far. Every product, every innovation and every achievement will be replaced by something else. The question is — will your company replace it, or will a competitor replace both it and you?

Adam Horlock

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder and Principal Strategist for Pinnacle Public Relations Agency

Adam Horlock is the founder and principal strategist for Pinnacle Public Relations Agency. Additionally, he offers PR and business consulting services to many companies in various industries. He has made numerous media appearances and continues to be a resource for entrepreneurs nationwide.

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