Understanding your future is a good first step
If there were only one thing that I could communicate to you about your future activities, it would be this:
“The results that you achieve in business and in your life, are simply a by-product of your thinking.
Include the thinking of the people around you, along with the thinking of people who help you along the way”.
Your performance and achievements are directly connected to the way you think about the future. Though there may be other factors in play, it’s only your performance over which you have control. Your performance will also depend on to a large extent on the people who are around you.
The way they think about the future and the extent to which they help you will have a big impact. We are in the midst of incredible innovation in the workplace. And because the market is oversaturated with ‘trends,’ apps, and new technologies, it can be difficult to discern what’s game-changing and what’s not. The important thing is, if you can’t think about the future, you probably won’t have the one you would like.
There future activities that can facilitate your future thinking and prepare for whatever comes your way
- Learn not to be overwhelmed about the future, embrace it and the changes it brings.
- Utilise modern technology to help you increase your capacity. Think about technology areas that will have a major impact on your business.
- Take advantage of big data and such things as robotics, 3D printing and wearable technology.
- Spend more time planning your future, the process will unlock ideas and opportunities.
- Adjust your business to the trends of the future, never settle for the status quo.
- Read books about the future, someone else’s future.
- Become agiler. Be selective and don’t accept everything that comes your way.
- Be selective in the television you watch and the social media you utilise.
- Spend less time on the internet and more time talking to people.
- Allocate some of your income to future thinking and activities.
- Make the most of the opportunities that come your way.
- Take a surprise trip somewhere unrelated to your future.
- Never be afraid to try something new.
- Look after your health by keeping your mind and body active.
- If all else fails, have fun. Remember any useful idea about the future will usually sound ridiculous at first.
Future activities underpinning change
The goodwill of customers will help you to implement necessary changes for the future.
The marketplace is changing and will continue to change due to smarter software applications that will emerge online over the next five years. You will need to leverage new classes of applications to drive productivity, business performance and quality of life. These are some of the future activities changing your lives and your livelihood. Businesses, not-for-profits and communities need to move with the times if they are to survive.
This has to be at the top of the list. This is because the way you think affects the way you feel, which affects the actions you take and it is your actions that determine the outcomes you achieve in the future.
Future economic stability
Governments singularly and collectively at all levels seem to cause more problems than they fix. Their focus should be turning towards more economic stability and supporting those organisations that make things happen. Future activities in industrial relations will need to become more flexible and in keeping with employer and employee demands. Regulations need lifting, it is overly burdensome and impedes innovation and growth.
The digital marketplace is well and truly upon you. Vendors need to focus future activities on doing more for you in making the transitions to the new technology developments. Communications developments are just as dramatic as the ‘smart’ watches and robots emerging. Businesses can now operate anywhere in the world, at any time with the available information technology and communications. Those taking advantage of technology will be the winners.
Many people are looking at establishing a ‘lifestyle business’, as lifestyle and family become more important than making money. Established businesses will also become more lifestyle orientated as employees demand more flexibility in their working conditions. As the world becomes smaller, travel opens up more opportunities for improving lifestyles. While hard work is important, living well will become more important. http://goo.gl/anIkPt
Innovation is a critical ingredient. More businesses are starting to grasp the concept of innovation. Innovation will become an even greater competitive advantage as customers seek to create and execute new and better ideas and opportunities. Smarter companies will leap ahead with the understanding that innovation is a process dependent system as opposed to a flash of genius.
This includes mastering business fundamentals such as planning, marketing, operations, relationships, finance and health and well-being. They have become an imperative to growth, sustainability and survival. If you have the ability to spot, recruit, and direct those who work well with technology, even if you are not technology savvy yourself. The future will become a better place for you and all those around you.
There are a few key trends shaping mobility, both personal and commercial. Lifestyle and family are becoming more important to employees and they will be demanding more flexible working conditions. An employee’s output is becoming more important than where the employee is. Commercial mobility is being fuelled by the move to smartphones, on-demand technology, robotics and the impact of driverless and electric vehicles. http://goo.gl/HWjWft.
Future information explosion
The usefulness of knowledge expires over time. New discoveries overthrow theories to create new ways of thinking. In the world of business, the assumptions and facts of today are tomorrow’s old way of thinking. The world will continue to accelerate in information and knowledge creation. Those using knowledge systems and analytics will prevail and while the failure rate will continue, organisations left will become stronger.
Searches of companies and people using search engines like Google is becoming more important for buyers. They can discover the truth behind marketing hype. Social media will shape the success of business. Savvy small businesses will monitor what is being said and use the feedback to improve and manage their reputation. Content marketing will be increasingly important and will become a critical norm. Marketing automation will increase.
Sharing in business has been around for a long time, but future activities in this area will intensify. From sharing tools and equipment to time sharing holidays. New opportunities are emerging, mostly driven by technology advances. As Uber is undermining the ‘old- established’ Taxi industry, many more businesses will be undermined with new sharing ideas that are being developed. Perhaps your knowledge and experience can lead your industry in some sharing arrangements.
Future financing of enterprises
How you fund your enterprise, will be different. “When will it be easier to get cash and what do you do meantime’? These are perennial questions SMEs have always struggled with. Businesses are learning they don’t need much cash to get most businesses started and traditional lenders are too hard to deal with. Future activities in this area will place more emphasis on crowdfunding and micro-loans along with the use of intermediaries.
Customers are changing. SMEs, NFPs and community organisations will become less able to hide behind poor service and second-rate products and services. Many are failing because they are unable to move from the old ‘sales cycle’ to the new ‘buying cycle’. More emphasis is being placed on personal service and customer experiences. Marketing is fast becoming a two-way communication with the customer. Listening is critical.
When you look at future activities, you have the opportunity to learn new ideas and immediately apply them. In meeting increasing global competition, successful organisations will learn how to unlearn and constantly challenge their systems, processes, skills and generally upgrade their way of doing business. The most successful will be those who don’t follow the herd but anticipate the wants and needs of the market quicker than the competition.
Future cultural diversity
Cultural diversity will continue because of the unrest in the world is causing the movement of people. While there will always be problems, there are many advantages. These range from cultural diversity in food to new skills merging with business and helping with international marketing. Future activities should be focused more on peace and goodwill, while you all learn to live with each other.
The future will not be without risk. Those leaders and managers with a healthy risk appetite will prevail. People who are risk adverse will find it increasingly difficult to survive in business. Motor vehicles, aeroplanes, and more recently the Internet and the smartphone, were all regarded as risky with high degrees of scepticism when first introduced. As always there were winners and losers, when something seems impossible, you will probably be wrong.
Future company structures
Consumers will be increasingly willing to give up some privacy in return for lower prices. This means company structures need to be stripped of the ‘fat’ of the past and become flatter and more virtual. Many business models are already fractured when put under the microscope of the future. Business frameworks will need to be looking at engaging partnerships, outsourcing non-core activities and structuring virtual boards.
FAQ Support’s ongoing future themes
These are the activities or themes that underpin our future activities. Knowing and understanding your future themes and activities are important to every business. Changing your future activities will change your future direction.
When you compare where you are now with where you want to be, you often feel frustrated and defeated. Sometimes you can’t see the trees for the leaves because you have become bogged down in detail. When your dreams are big, progress can feel slow, but if your future activities become more focused you can pick up the pace.
In the modern business world, patience and perseverance are important attributes required to bring about change. While ‘knee-jerk’ reactions might bring about some change they are rarely sustainable, particularly where major changes are required. This should not be confused with becoming action orientated as small actions can quickly add up.
Find a peaceful and inspiring place to review future activities
A place where you can relax, think, reflect and start to take notes about your future. Make sure you write down all your thoughts. Identify your strengths. Don’t be judgemental you can priorities and delete later.
Let go of the past successes, mistakes and failures
The past isn’t the issue, it’s behind you. Learn from the past but don’t let it inhibit your thinking about your future, which must be different. Direction only changes when you stop following yesterday’s course.
Reconnect with the dream
How will you make a difference, be specific? Revisit your vision for the future and reassess and confirm your beliefs and aspirations. What will the future you desire really look like, how long will it take and cost? What future activities do you need to embrace?
Climb down from the clouds
Accept your current situation. Wishing things were different only drains you. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t blame others. Start making small adjustments. Create a one-page business plan, target and narrow your niche.
Change your future today
You can actually change direction today. If you want new results tomorrow, you must start today. What new way of thinking will help to move you forward from the status quo? And what are the first three actions you will take?
- What is holding you back
Identify the problems and frustrations that are holding you back, or blocking the way forward for you? Who can help you with your future activities and how can you excite them to keep helping you to make the necessary changes.
If you can’t start again you will maintain the status quo and the problems and frustrations will continue. Take a minute and choose to take the first step with future activities. Start anywhere, perfection and procrastination must be eliminated.
- Engage supporters and resources
They are the building blocks you can use to start building on. Keep in mind “it’s too hard doing it by yourself”. Come up with a unique story behind the changes. The right resources will be attracted to the right ideas.
- Identify and eliminate ineffective practices and bad habits
It takes more courage to stop than it does to start. Doing the same old things in the same old ways is insanity, nothing will change. Add words like, ‘today’, ‘now’ and’ Nike’, to all conversations.
- Look after your health and well-being
Eat well, exercise well and get plenty of sleep. Your future activities need to involve your health and well-being. Go to sleep wondering, “What good things can I do tomorrow to take my business and my life to where I want it to go”?
John Kotter’s ‘eight steps to successful change’
John Kotter is a Harvard Business School professor and leading thinker and author on organisational change management. He describes a helpful model for understanding and managing change. Each stage acknowledges a key principle identified by Kotter relating to people’s response and approach to change, in which people see, feel and then change.
Kotter’s eight step change model can be summarised as:
- Increase urgency – inspire people to move, make objectives real and relevant.
- Build the guiding team – get the right people in place with the right emotional commitment and the right mix of skills and levels.
- Get the vision right – get the team to establish a simple vision and strategy, focus on emotional and creative aspects necessary to drive service and efficiency.
- Communicate for buy-in – Involve as many people as possible, communicate the essentials, simply, and to appeal and respond to people’s needs. De-clutter communications – make technology work for you rather than against.
- Empower action – Remove obstacles, enable constructive feedback and lots of support from leaders – reward and recognise progress and achievements.
- Create short-term wins – Set aims that are easy to achieve, in bite-size chunks. Manageable numbers of initiatives. Finish current stages before starting new ones.
- Don’t let up – Foster and encourage determination and persistence with future activities and ongoing change. Encourage ongoing progress reporting, highlighting achievements and future milestones.
- Make change stick – Reinforce the value of successful change via recruitment, promotion, new change leaders. Weave changes into your culture.
Kotter’s eight step model is explained more fully on his website www.kotterinternational.com.
“The future belongs to those who prepare for it today”. Malcolm X
“Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Allow others to cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands, but not you”. Jim Rohn