The key to becoming an opportunity manager is to have the discipline to unplug from the present at least once per week and instead plug into the future. Last month, I shared two steps on how to solve tomorrow’s problems before they occur and see the new opportunities change can bring. This month, I have two additional steps you can take to move the ball forward and watch your success grow.

Solve Predictable Problems Before They Happen

During your opportunity hour ask yourself, “Based on the direction I see things going, the trends I see happening, and the market cycles I’m aware of, what are the problems I’m about to have? And, equally important, what are my customers’ predictable future problems?” Then determine a strategy to solve those problems before they occur. Keep in mind that a future problem represents a future opportunity.

For example, if you’re implementing a new strategic plan, predict the problems the plan will create and solve them before they start. If you’re launching a new product, figure out the problems associated with that product and solve them before the launch. If you’re implementing a company-wide change, identify those who are likely to fight the change and why, and then develop solutions for their concerns beforehand.

It’s about becoming more anticipatory. If you don’t take an hour a week to look at what’s about to occur, you’re going to keep doing what you’ve always done until you inadvertently go off a cliff. Rather than be a crisis manager and only react to problems as they occur, you want to be anticipatory, identify opportunities, and capitalize on them.

Look At The Future of Your Profession

In addition to looking at your industry and organization’s future, whatever profession you’re in or whatever your career happens to be, you also need to look at the future of your employment. Based on all the things you’re seeing with your organization and all the technological changes out there, how are you going to be doing your job or career in the next few years? If you can start to see the future of your career, you can chart your own course, identify problems before they occur, and solve them proactively so you end up ahead rather than behind the curve.

Your Future Awaits

No matter who you are or what you do, an hour a week is doable. Before long, you’ll become addicted to that hour and will expand it. And when that happens, you open yourself up to a whole new world of possibilities. So don’t wait for your future to unfold randomly, only to end up in a place you don’t want to be. Instead, invest an hour a week into your company and/or yourself and watch your success grow.