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Six megatrends that will affect you in 2012

Executive leadership coach John M McKee shares his forecast for what he sees impacting our lives in the new year.

An economist once told me that a nation's unemployment rate doesn't really matter to most people.  "The point," he stated, "is that you're either employed or unemployed.  To a great extent we behave accordingly, despite what's happening to others."

For many people, 2011 has been a challenging year.  As it closes there are a lot of reasons to say good riddance.  But trying to get a solid "read" on 2012 is even tougher now than it was last December when we looked ahead to 2011.

Despite the fact that it's only three weeks away; many things that will affect people and organizations remain up in the air: one week we see positive elements (like the recent massive gains in the U.S. stock indexes) but then the next we can hear deeply concerning information that affects the world's outlook - such as the direction of the European community.

Whether it's for professional or personal reasons, most individuals, in most countries, do the best they can in the situation they find themselves: We try to move ahead. Barring that, we try not to fall back, too much. Here are five waves that I believe will impact your life in 2012:

1. The western economy will continue to drag on the global situation. This will affect most industries in most (not all, see below) countries. Most citizens in western countries will notice their standard of living ebbing downward, with the gap between the haves and have nots increasing almost everywhere. Middle class people will become more resentful which will result in more protests and calls for change. 2. Chinese travelers will become more welcome, and more active, worldwide. Chinese citizens and politicians are being wined and dined wherever they touch down.  Like the Japanese in the 80s and the Americans before them, they are on a roll with more discretionary money per person and more government interest beyond its own borders.  Let's hope they behave better than some of the members of the former big spenders when touring about the world. 3. Ecology continues to move forward in importance.  Regardless of one's beliefs concerning what is behind global warning, there's a broad acceptance that we are in a period of unexpected weather patterns and at the same time that we are being too cavalier with many of the resources we have.  Many companies at the forefront are behaving well and some key brands are now offering to help consumers recycle.  Be it the air in Beijing or plastic bags in Santa Monica, the average citizen is more aware of the need to be better with reuse. 4. Consumerism continues driving many economies and new businesses - Western consumers will become even more deal savvy led by organizations like GroupOn. As importantly, the average person's mindset is now "all about the deal."  Whether you need to save or not, there's actually STATUS in getting a deal now.  This has already affected clothes, dining out, and services of course, but I think in 2012 we'll see it in every transaction we do. On that point... 5. Transactions will be less about cash and more about connection - Many readers understand the value of connection and most of us have heard about the trend toward online activities for years.  But it really has come to a head as:
  • Purchases made using smartphones clearly start to replace coins and bills for many citizens (sooner than most bureaucrats estimate) with Google and MasterCard leading the way
  • People in impoverished countries are taking advantage of micro loans of less than $100 from westerners online, becoming successful entrepreneurs
  • Solo-preneurs in the west are now taking credit cards for services or good they sell using gizmos like Square. This levels the playing field making it harder for large organizations to own their markets
6. The US Elections will be impacted by a real 3rd choice.  It is very likely that Americans Elect will field candidates for federal office, including the President, across every state of the union.  This organization is led by individuals of both colors (Republicans and Democrats) who believe that most Americans are fed up with the divisiveness of the party leaders.  Polls say they are right.

Here's to the future!

John

Career Coach

About

John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of BusinessSuccessCoach.net, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion d...

12 comments
Con_123456
Con_123456

but I don't think it will. :( Try to search for: "FEMA camps trains coffins", and ask your government (and newspaper) why they never told you about them... FEMA is trying to convince us, that all this is prepared to save people in case of a disaster. But why they have prepared millions of coffins, and absolutely no medical equipment/material etc.? Why the camps have been carefully fenced and guarded, but don't have any hygiene, eating or health facilities? etc. The response is - because they are not intended to save people, but rather to eliminate them. And finally, why does US need such camps, coffins and trains now, if it was not needed at any time in the history? Does FEMA know about any upcoming mass tragedy? I suppose that all this is related to Illuminati, NWO and WW3, as these preparations perfectly fit all their known plans. Also note that at the very beginning, they will have to detain inconvenient persons. Thanks to all the modern Internet and telco technologies, they already know EVERYTHING about you (and me). They will know exactly where to find you (and me) very quickly. This is also explanation, where the biggest sites, which are collecting personal information and preferences, take most of their money. From the Illuminati-related organizations.

ancientprogrammer
ancientprogrammer

#1 - The problem is debt, especially sovereign debt, and the fragility that comes with that. The problem will continue until nations, corporations and even individuals come to understand that you can't borrow yourself to prosperity. #3 - The unscientific, politicized and even neo-religious aspects of the "climate change" crowd will become clearer to more people. People will realize that it has little to do with real science and is really about implementing leftist political policies and raiding the public treasury via government/corporate cronyism. #6 - The purpose of a "3rd choice" would be to hurt a conservative Republican candidate (aka anybody currently in the race other than Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman) in order to insure the reelection of Obama. The Washington establishment, on both sides of the aisle, wants to retain Obama, for different reasons. For Republicans, he's a great fund raising and vote getting tool. For Democrats, he's Mr. Moneybags and great at funneling public money back to them via donations from public sector unions.

SquelchQuelch
SquelchQuelch

"...theres a broad acceptance that we are in a period of unexpected weather patterns and at the same time that we are being too cavalier with many of the resources we have." Give me a break. When have we ever thought that weather patterns are expected other than the 4 seasons that we know exist, some more distinct than others. The sun changes intensity all the time. Volcanoes erupt every so often. Weather is going to change. Weather is always changing. Where I live, yesterday it was 80 degrees. Today it's in the 40s. Governments of this world don't have to do anything about it except get out of the way and quit trying to make money off of mother nature. Sooner or later she's gonna get really pissed off and do something to force us to stop meddling in her business. :)

TNT
TNT

I agree with the author that things are going to radically change starting next year, but I disagree with many of the points raised. Depending on the next presidential election, America will either get its act together through deregulation and become the economic powerhouse it can be, or we will have more of the same from Washington and the economy will drag on for another four years as John predicts. I don't see ecology as on the rise any longer. Ecology is the pursuit of wealthy nations; poor nations don't care. If this economy does straighten out under new leadership then the eco-business sector is safe, otherwise people will care more about paying their bills than separating their trash. And the third candidate choice is complete nonsense. There is no third party large enough to impact the elections (and if anyone says "independents" are that third party they truly don't understand who that political segment is). I agree that people will be frustrated by the two parties, but it is more likely to spill out into an elimination of political parties altogether (which is what George Washington wanted) as it is to lead to a legitimate 3rd party.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Purchases made using smartphones clearly start to replace coins and bills for many citizens (sooner than most bureaucrats estimate) with Google and MasterCard leading the way" Sorry, I don't see this one. Let's try: "Purchases made using smartphones clearly start to replace the credit and debit cards that long ago replaced cash for many citizens ..." Those who will use smartphones to make purchases stopped using coins and bills back in the late '90s or early '00s. Assuming V/MC/AE/D don't charge more for a phone transaction than they do for a card one, this won't affect their bottom line. The biggest impact this will have is the manufacture, sale, and installation of POS equipment to retailers.

CareerCoach
CareerCoach

What do you see affecting people next year?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Sooner or later she's gonna get really pissed off and do something to force us to stop meddling in her business." I think she's already started.

Slayer_
Slayer_

100 bucks a month to replace a credit card that is often free.

JamesRL
JamesRL

If people have unlimited calling plans where another transaction won't cost a cent I can see some people going for it.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I misunderstood. I guess I thought the phone communicated with something in the store; hence my remark about POS manufacturers and maintainers (Hi Nick.). There are still plenty of people who use cash for a variety of reasons. Many of them don't trust banks (or can't open an account with one). Without a bank account or credit card to charge, I assume (there I go again) those people wouldn't be able to use a phone to pay bills. Upon further reflection, I don't think it's going to reduce credit card transactions as much as I thought. You'll still use a credit card for online transactions or recurring monthly charges like gym membership fees.

spdragoo
spdragoo

Now, if you want to have your smartphone tied into your [b]existing[/b] credit/debit card, then the transaction should be free -- although I imagine it would need to involve either projecting a bar code on the screen that the register's scanner can interpret as the card's account number, or a RFID-type chip in the smartphone that works with the "wave" option on the card reader (i.e. where you "wave" the card near the thing instead of swiping it through the reader). The only other option would be for the retailer to make a charge against your phone account... and make no mistake, whether you have a monthly unlimited plan or a pay-as-you-go plan, the carriers will keep that as a separate charge on your bill... & they'll most likely follow allow with how banks treat charges & tack on a "processing" fee per transaction.

Slayer_
Slayer_

And there is no way the transaction will be free, that would be extremely out of character for the telephone companies.

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