Could Have Predicted It?
in 999 AD could have imagined, much less predicted the course
of events that have lead us to where we are now? Who in 1701
would have thought that England would have taken control over
North America from the French and that some upstart Colonies
would create their own country in defiance. Who in 1701 could
have predicted that there would be a French Revolution and
a Reign of Terror? Who in 1801 could have foreseen all of
the inventions and technological changes that would give rise
to the industrial revolution? Who in 1901 could have imagined
not one, but two World Wars, Korea, Viet Nam and Desert Storm?
Imagine if you told someone in 1945 that the Soviet Union
would collapse without a fight before the year 2000? What
if in 1950 you tried to explain the internet to someone? What
if you tried again in 1985? Who could have predicted all that
has happened over the last twenty-five years, much less the
last one hundred and one thousand!?!
answer is of course, no one. The reason being that nothing
happens in great, tremendous leaps. Things happen as a result
of other things happening and connect as a series of events.
Needs get filled. Theories get disputed and overturned by
science. Copernicus. Darwin. Einstein. Things get invented
because someone discovered something else about an unrelated
topic. Someone set out to invent one thing and discovered
something completely different than what s/he'd set out to
invent in the first place. Edison, Bell, Madame Curie. It's
all haphazard. It's all random. But somehow it all gets connected
and becomes part of the way we do things and the way we live.
The same holds true within the industries and markets you
serve. The same holds true for your company. Something happens.
A new technology is discovered. Someone invents something.
A new way of doing business is introduced. Ford. Sloan. Kroc.
Gates. Walton. Bezos. Someone in some far distant land discovers
the connection between two completely unrelated things, puts
them together, creates a totally new paradigm and changes
the way things are done forever more. How do you predict it?
How do you stay on top of it all? How do you find out about
it? How does your company survive?
on-going planning and strategic thinking. Strategic thinking
is a process that forces you to think about the future. Not
in terms of going from today to 3001, but from today to perhaps
2010 or 2025. It causes a company's people, sales channels,
shareholders, suppliers, advisors, consultants and even its
customers to be vigilant. To be proactively on the lookout
for new and innovative technologies and methodologies that
can help you change the way you currently do business, before
someone else puts them to use and forces you to change or
perish. To either be the one creating and causing the changes
or buying yourself enough time to at least be prepared for
them. One way or another, they're coming. They always have.
Just look back and see what has gone before. Then look forward
and imagine how much more lies ahead. Especially when you
consider that the rate of change since 1901 has increased
those who do not plan and think that by taking care of today
will prepare you for tomorrow, you are, as they say, "whistling
in the dark." You are living day to day, hoping that
nothing will come out of the darkness to harm either you or
your company. Not planning is like driving a car blindfolded,
looking out the rear window. No matter how hard you try, you
will never be able to see what lies ahead. Consider this.
The "future" really is an invisible place, only
until you start thinking about it. The only way to prepare
for the future is to plan for it. But, you need to make certain
that the future you are planning for is going to exist by
the time you get there. Therefore, the plans you create as
a result of strategic planning must be reviewed regularly
and revised, renewed and reinvented as needed. So if you have
implemented a strategic planning process within your company,
use it often. If you have no such process in your company,
just keep right on whistling or call a strategic planner.
in an "Alice in Wonderland" World