29 March 2010

Creating the Future--Even in Difficult Times Part 3

Where is “Normal?”

History is a reminder that periodically cultures, economies and governments, for different reasons, cross a threshold. Once there they don’t go back. Is this one of those times?

Current examples of restructuring:

• Financial services
• Real estate and construction
• Retail
• Legal profession
• Transportation
• Media and Publishing
• Healthcare
• Jobs (Is 5% unemployment an old idea?)
• The role of government in our lives

Learning to Ask the Right Questions

Here are 6 questions to get you started:

• What is your business?

• What is it you can’t afford to lose? (The core)

• What are you doing that needs to continue?

• What are you doing that needs abandoning?

• What are you not doing that needs initiating?

• How do you make a profit?

(C) 2010 All rights reserved.

13 March 2010

Creating the Future--Even in Difficult Times Part 2

"Assessing—Not Predicting"

Creating the future is no longer based on probability.

Old: What is most likely to happen?

New: What has already happened to create the future? What are the facts as we know them to be? What do they mean to our business? What opportunities are created that match up well with us? (Peter Drucker)

Predicting is a difficult undertaking. We still don’t have flying cars, orbiting space cities or endless time. People and social phenomena make it hard to predict. Status quo is slower to change than most realize.

“If you predict for a living, you have to predict often.” (Neils Bohr, the late Danish physicist)

How to assess? By asking good questions.

• Looking externally at current and prospective customers

• Looking at the edges where change often occurs, first

• Looking internally to operations

Some examples of a changing landscape:

• Jobs (how people work and earn a living)

• Frugality linked with value—even among higher income households (consumer is 70% of the economy)

• Smaller—not larger businesses

(C) 2010 All rights reserved.

01 March 2010

Creating the Future--Even in Difficult Times Part 1

This is the first in a series of posts on the global economic situation from a workshop presented in 2009.

How would you describe the past 24 months? A 100-year phenomenon? A “black swan?” “A Great Recession?”

“It was a year when the unpredictable turned into the unimaginable.” (Larry Fink, CEO of Black Rock Investments)

How could so many have misread this financial crisis? What else did we know back then?

What are we missing now?

The way we see things determines our attitude and behavior. We are at all times creating the future whether we realize it or not.

Sometimes success blinds us to new realities—this can be a dangerous thing. Regardless of the circumstances facing us, we can and do have a say in shaping and influencing our future. We need to know the things over which we have some control—work there. What are those things?

“No new idea springs full blown from a void. New ideas emerge from a set of conditions in which the old ideas no longer seem to work.” (Machine that Changed the World)

“Ideas are not created, they escape.” (Lou Gerstner, former CEO of IBM)

In a practical way, how do we go about creating our future?

-Assessing—not predicting
-Finding the new “normal” for your organizattion
-Asking the right questions
-Executing more than envisioning

More in the next post.

(C) 2010 All rights reserved.