In my new book Flash Foresight, I share seven principles that can make invisible opportunities visible. The first is using the power of certainty.
In times of unprecedented change and uncertainty, we need to ask, “What are we certain about?” Strategies based on uncertainty equal high risk. Strategies based on certainty reduce risk and produce superior results.Here’s an example of certainty. Winter turns to spring, which turns to summer and then fall. I am certain of that! There are over 300 business, biological, and weather cycles that allow you to accurately anticipate the future. You understand cyclical change and use it often, even if you are not aware of it.
In today’s technology-driven world of accelerated change, you need to understand another type of change that I call Linear Change. Once this type of change happens, you won’t go back. For example, if you have an MP3 player, smart phone, or flat-panel TV, are you going back to what you used before? No! This is non-cyclical change that has a profound impact.
Knowing this, what if you could predict the challenges your organization will face and stop them from occurring? Impossible? Hardly. You can solve tomorrow’s problems…today. You simply have to know what you’re certain about. Use the following points to increase your certainty.
Stop, Look, Listen
Stop: As change accelerates, the tendency is to work faster. But rather than speed up, we need to slow down, stop, and think. Put aside all your problems temporarily. Make the decision to devote some time, on a regular basis, to become an anticipatory organization.
Look: Make a list of Cyclical and Linear changes you can see. What are the problems you are not having today, but will have in the next three to six months? The next one to three years? Those are the problems you need to solve. To get ahead of the curve, shift your focus from solving today’s problems to solving tomorrow’s problems before they happen.
Listen: What is certainty telling you about those future problems and ways to approach them? Listen to clues lying just outside your range of vision. As you learn more about how to use certainty and foresight, solutions will appear almost instantly.
When I talk with clients about becoming anticipatory, they often say, “That sounds fascinating—but we don’t have time to think about the future. We’re too busy dealing with today!”
Of course they’re busy. We’re all busy. There will never be a time when we’re not busy—which is why we keep flailing about in our uncertainties.
Nobody has time to explore the future. The only way it will happen is if you make time for it. Make an appointment; put it on the calendar. It will take one hour per week of your time. You will find it to be time well spent!