Most people can predict and foresee their future. Granted we can’t see specific things like the date of our death or what the Dow Jones average will be in on the last day of 2016. But we have written our own future and we don’t realize it.
We all understand that if we don’t save for our retirement, we are going to have to live our elderly years meagerly with nothing to get by on except charity and Social Security. If you smoke cigarettes and continue to do so for 40 years, you’ve chosen a future with health problems. And if you don’t love and respect your spouse then you’re probably not going to have a silver or golden wedding anniversary.
Earlier this year a friend share a book with me titled “The Three Laws of Performance: Rewriting the Future in Your Life,” by Steve Zaffron & Dave Logan, which introduced me to the concept a default future. It is possible that my default future was not the one I really wanted. Nonetheless I was writing my default future and it was coming toward me unless I began to alter the current situation. And not only people have default futures, so do businesses and other organizations. If you or your business or organization aren’t headed toward you desired future, the only way you can get there is to alter your situation today.
One of the great challenges of small business is to overcome the urgency of meeting your customers’ demands plus your family’s demands and finding time to think about the future, at least a future beyond the next customer deadline. I’m not talking about day dreaming. I’m talking about a focused effort to analyze where you are, where you want to be, and how you will find the capabilities and people to achieve the future you want. This is the chief challenge I see for many if not most small companies, especially those with thin management.
A successful business or organization needs future thinking. If a company has been successful in focused thought about its future, you might see a company that had a budget for the upcoming years, a management succession plan, and a disaster recovery plan. A company with a future focus would analyze changes in technology that might affect their operations, investing in their future capacity and well as investing in their human capital. But the most important thing a future thinking company could do is determine what is unsatisfactory in their company today and change it now, otherwise you still on your road to a default future.
The concept of a default future applies to individuals and other organizations as well as businesses. Today I just wanted to remind you that if you want change in your life, your business, or your community, it starts with thinking combined with action. I think what most of us are short on is a commitment to focused thinking combined with focused action based on our thinking.
And if you are in a leadership position and what to induce change, read “The Three Laws of Performance.” My description of their idea of a default future is inadequate.