In his new book, Turning the Future Into Revenue: What Business and Individuals Need to Know to Shape Their Futures, author Glen Hiemstra summarizes his take on how to predict the future of your organization and plan for it with the following four assumptions:

  • The future is creatable, so you have choice (He’s getting at the idea that what you are doing now plays a big role in what will probably happen later).
  • The future is knowable, so you need to look (You may not be able to know everything about the future, but there are aspects of it that are already clear).
  • The future is unpredictable, so you need values (There are equally aspects of the future that are unpredictable that you will need to respond to and your response will be based on your predetermined values).
  • The future creates the present, so you need vision (In the sense that you can begin with the end in mind and then work back to the present, the future does create the present).

Interesting, isn’t it?  Take a few minutes just to think about these four assumptions.  Do you share them?  Are they reasonable?  If they are reasonable then it is possible to shape the future.  And if it is possible to shape the future then it only makes sense to ask ourselves, "why aren’t we paying attention?  Why aren’t we doing what we can to shape it for our organizations and even for our own lives?"  No answer?  Or at least no good one?  Why not try the following exercise?  Set aside some time to work through the following questions:

  1. What choices are you making now that will determine a path that you really don’t want to take?  What choices are you delaying that will keep you from capitalizing on a present opportunity?
  2. What do you know for sure about where your organization is headed if nothing changes?
  3. What are the values that really hold dear?
  4. What would the future look like if you ended up exactly where you want to be?

By the way, this isn’t an easy exercise.  It will take hard work.  Not doing it will play a part in determining your future.  Doing it will help you end up where you want to be.

Predicting the Future: Four Assumptions