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'No-one sets out to be irrelevant': Dr Jason Fox masterclass on your future

Summary of Into The Storm: Thrive in a World Less Predictable with Dr Jason Fox


Frazzled, metamorphosis, reset, liberating, internet, paddling, grind, martyrdom, peace, reflective, displaced, revealing, disorganised, discovery, enthusiasm, reinvention, loss, hectic…

These are some of the many “tasting notes” of the past two years offered up by masterclass participants of Into The Storm: Thrive in a World Less Predictable with Dr Jason Fox.

In a popular and entertaining session, Dr Fox said for him personally, the pandemic was exactly the pattern disruption he needed, while also acknowledging the tragedy of COVID-19.  

Here we briefly summarise how the theme of 'disrupting patterns' came to be the 'tasting note' of Dr Fox's Into The Storm masterclass. 

The temptation to default to the familiar

Dr Fox says a natural inclination, when faced with ambiguity, busyness, and challenges, is for an organisation to double down on quick fixes and default ways of doing things.

However, this leads to a “lowered state” and an “atrophy of empathy” where you lose empathy for others and the emerging needs of the market.

“No-one sets out to become irrelevant, but they will be when too busy,” he says. “Momentum inhibits reinvention.”

Moving to constructive discontent

Dr Fox recommends instead a pattern disruption of:

·       Pausing

·       Moving to a state of ‘constructive discontent’: where you look at what you’re doing and speculate on what you could be doing instead.

The problem is, we love seeing progress.

Too much progress keeps us cursed with efficiency

Citing “The Progress Principle” by Steven Kramer and Teresa Amabile, Dr Fox says studies show employees will choose “clear sense of progress” (celebrating small wins) as the best way bosses can get them enthusiastic about doing great work.

Dr Fox suggests you take a ‘helicopter view’ of your team’s activities. Ideally, 80% of the time is spent on activities that provide a sense of progress (ie. tackling your email inbox). However, most organisations spend 90% of their time on these tasks, making them “cursed with efficiency.”

“We often value effort, more than we value value,” he says. In other words, we value the optics of busyness rather than what's really adding value to the company.

Dr Fox recommends asking “Are we perpetuating a rich delusion of progress?”

Before you read on, for the masterclass recording please take up our invitation to invest in a Leadership Pass for yourself and your team members. Click on the tile below for information and pricing plans.  

Making meaningful progress

Here’s the gold. To counter this 'delusion of progress' he teaches us to ask ourselves:

“What is meaningful progress that brings us closer to future relevance?”

This requires curiosity. It requires a quest. 


As the author of How to Lead a Quest, Dr Fox says that 90% of most organisations’ time is spent on the left hand side of the quadrant – on strategy that leads to progress – ‘incrementalism and bandwagonism’ (as Dr Fox calls it).

“A mission mindset is the opposite to a quest mindset,” he says.

A quiver of options

Instead of a ‘mission mindset’ we instead must:

·       Search for and assemble a ‘quiver of options’ (watch "Good To Great" author Jim Collins’s video of 3 concepts including 'bullets and cannonballs" theory for a low-risk way to do this).

·       Cull away activities that give us a delusion of progress (“goaldacity” = persisting with goals that don’t make sense).

Some organisations Dr Fox has worked with have core business ‘questing teams’ who maintain a quiver of options they may need in a future state. With these in hand they can choose the right option based upon the conditions that manifest themselves.

Fellowship for facing the future

Dr Fox suggests:

·       Questing as a precursor to strategy.

·       Fellowship as a precursor to questing. Get together teams of five (+ or – 2) and go offsite for a deeper, higher-resolution look at future options for your organisation.

Conversation starter questions

·       What first steps can we take to discover which work is meaningful?

·       Who is best on our ‘questing team’ to find our quiver of options?

·       How can we overcome current tensions hindering us from moving successfully forward?


To buy “How to Lead a Quest” by Dr Jason Fox: AUS/NZ:


“How to do Nothing” by Jenny Odell


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