Here’s a 2007 challenge.  Try it this week.  It’ll only take a few minutes to initiate.  It may cost you some time and energy to execute…but it’ll be well worth it.  Here it is:

Take a few minutes and jot down the changes in the culture that your organization is not capitalizing on (or even acknowledging).  It may take you a few hints or even a brain-storming session with your team.  Here are a few possibilities:

  • the pace of life, people’s lack of downtime.
  • technology that has changed the habits of people (Tivo, internet).
  • a mobile population, many people live great distances from family.

These are just a few.  If you take any time at all you’ll come up with many more.  That’s step one.  Step two is to examine your current operation in light of those changes.  For example, Tivo has changed the viewing habits of America.  Tivo has shortened an already short attention span.  What difference does that make?  Think about the way you’re packaging what you offer in the way of communication with your customer.  Does it take into consideration this important cutural change?  Are you still offering the 90 minute version when at home your customer is used to fast forwarding through the commercials so they can do an hour in 42 minutes?

Peter Drucker has written that "the most important work of the executive is to identify the changes that have already happened.  The important challenge in society, economics, politics is to exploit the changes that have already occurred and to use them as opportunities.  The important thing is to identify the ‘future that has already happened’ and to develop a methodology for perceiving and analyzing these changes (January 2nd, The Daily Drucker)."

Forget exploiting for a moment.  Focus instead on at least identifying the changes that have already happened.  Start there.  Then, use that list to begin to think about how you might exploit the changes in order to better serve your customer.

What do you think?

Identifying the Future That Has Already Happened