Ten Center members set their priorities

Ten Center members used the Trends Outline of the 6 standard trend types to think constructively about the future. They generated the 3 big questions every planner must answer every year.


  • Nathan Bares
  • Susan Dineen
  • Kevin Hickman
  • Steve Johannsen
  • Bryon Johnson
  • Mike Markiewicz
  • Bill Mitchell
  • Valerie Renk
  • Tim Stewart
  • Kristi Thering
  • Derrick Van Mell

3 Big Questions

  • How can we use technology to enhance, not replace personal interaction?
  • While digital tools allow us to sell anywhere, how can we still deliver quality?
  • How will the new Democratic President and Congress change things?


  1. Review this list with your fellow managers and revise and add for your situation.
  2. Pick the top three in each category.
  3. Pick the top 3 among them all and let those shape your plans.
  4. Contact The Center for assistance: [email protected].

Reminder to members: refer to The GMs Index for responses (e.g., 5.5 Compensation)

Major trends by type

Customer demographics and behavior

  • New digital platforms affecting some customer buying patterns
  • Changes in marketing on digital platforms
  • Online buying and customer service will continue to grow
  • Customers (especially B2B) taking short-term view, cautious with cash, focused on survival
  • Large ticket buyers depending more on advisors
  • Many experienced buyers and salespeople are retiring. New buyers coming up.
  • Remote buying becoming less personal. Less reliance on personal relationship.
  • Technology allows buyers to shelter themselves from vendors

Labor demographics and behavior

  • Work restrictions severely limiting volunteer pools. Need to recruit younger volunteers
  • Volunteer-based organizations beginning to rely on more paid staff
  • More “digital nomads,” forcing culture changes
  • Key talent moving to low-cost regions of the country
  • Talent ‘boomeranging’ out of cities
  • More staff retiring – some loss of mission-critical ‘corporate memory’
  • Harder to create succession of skilled and knowledgeable people
  • Whatever future mix of remote work, need new work/life balance policies
  • Challenges in making workspaces more attractive to talent (getting ROI from leasing/owning)
  • Economic uncertainty changing compensation: more base, less incentive, including salespeople
  • Need different compensation structures for different cohorts
  • Increase importance of benefits
  • How can each organization find its own balance of remote and in-person work, post-COVID


  • Increasing information security concerns
  • New process technologies (e.g., billing systems, 3D tours, etc.)
  • Virtual technologies reducing need for travel and in-person meetings (e.g., virtual showrooms)
  • Technologies can either reduce or enhance customer service
  • Continuing evolution of remote work technologies


  • Taxes likely to increase (e.g., to fund COVID stimulus)
  • Possible increase in capital gains tax could affect M&A activity
  • Democratic control of federal government will result in big changes


  • Business values increasing
  • Continuing low interest rates
  • Digital tools eliminating management geographies: markets, labor pools, supply chain
  • Sustained liquidity increasing donations and donor pools

Industry concentration

  • M&A: Many business owners are Boomers looking to sell; COVID has pent up that need
  • Digital tools and pandemic risks are stimulating many more affiliations, even with competitor

Relevant Terms

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