The best way to predict the future is to create it. – Peter Drucker
By creating your future, you are an active player in the events as they unfold. By knowing what you want, and what you are willing to do to get there, you can help to shape what the future holds.
If it helps to hear from practitioners, here are 7 stories on how the best way to predict the future is to create it.
- ACTIVELY LOOK FOR NEW TRENDS: After operating a small chain of convenience stores in southern California, Joe Coulombe had an idea: that upwardly mobile college grads might want something better than 7-11. So he opened a tropical-themed market in Pasadena, stocked it with good wine and beer, hired good people, and paid them well. He added more locations near universities, then healthy foods, and Trader Joe’s got started. As Peter Drucker says, “If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”
- UNLOCK POTENTIAL THROUGH EMPOWERMENT: Ross Smith was a leader at Microsoft trying to keep his team of 80+ employees motivated and focused. So, he let them become “free-agents.” They could choose one of four teams to work for. The leaders of each team could not offer more money to the “free-agents” but could offer new development opportunities and different types of work. When the process was complete, 95% of the staff preferred the new process. As Peter Drucker mentions “most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done”.
- LOVE WHAT YOU DO: Phil Robertson so loved duck hunting that he chose that over playing pro football for the NFL. He invented a duck call, started a company called Duck Commander, eventually put his son Willy in charge, and spawned a media and merchandising empire for a family of rednecks known as Duck Dynasty.
- EXPERIMENT, EXPERIMENT, EXPERIMENT: According to Natalie Goldberg in her book, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing your Inner Writer, one of the key pillars of being a good writer is that you just get out there and write. Just write. Experiment. Write about what you had for lunch, write about your friend’s new silver plated bracelet, and write about how you think your parents met. This experimentation is crucial to the success of today’s managers and is particularly important in these times of change.
- FIND YOUR AUTHENTIC VOICE: Author Todd Henry in his book, Louder than Word, Harness the Power of your Authentic Voice, says: While it’s important to turn your thoughts inward and reflect on what’s important to you, that’s only the beginning of the process of developing your voice. It’s also essential to turn your attention outward to determine the type of impact you want your voice to have on those you serve. While you may never know exactly where your work will lead you, a guiding vision will help you make crucial decisions and invest yourself in ways that matter.
- DEAL WITH SETBACKS: Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, says: “When you reach an obstacle, turn it into an opportunity. You have the choice. You can overcome and be a winner, or you can allow it to overcome you and be a loser. The choice is yours and yours alone. Refuse to throw in the towel. Go the extra mile that failures refuse to travel. It is far better to be exhausted from success than to be rested from failure.”
- ACT. LEARN. BUILD. REPEAT: Based on the research of Saras D. Sarasvathy, of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. And similar work by others at Babson College, this approach is a time-tested process for dealing with the unknown. Put simply, in the face of an unknown future, act. Deal with uncertainty not by trying to analyze it, or planning for every contingency, or predicting what the outcomes will be. Instead, act, learn from what you find, and act again.
Do these stories help you to see how the best way to predict the future. Are you ready to take the first step in creating your future?