When Do You Create the Future?
By: Randy Wolken, President & CEO
The future does not just happen. As a leader, you must actively spend time creating the future – or it will not happen. I like to say that the future is always created twice – once in our best plans and a second time in their actual implementation.
“Planning” has a bad name. “Strategic planning” is even worse. So, at MACNY, we create the future instead. We decide what we are going to be in order to thrive in eighteen months, three years, and five years. It must be relevant to our members. It must be bold. It must contain future developments in technology and service offerings. We must be able to begin working on it immediately. It needs to be exciting and meaningful and demand our team stretch to achieve it. All team members must buy-in and be passionate about it. As a 105-year-old organization, we believe our future is even more important than our past.
Our members that are thriving are doing the same thing. They are creating their futures today. I love to ask them what their next product or service is and who their future customer will be. I am usually impressed by how intentional they are in knowing and creating their futures. They are constantly learning and experimenting and failing and, finally, succeeding. Taking calculated risks is a common everyday occurrence. And, it shows in their growth and profitability.
Without an exciting and bold future, most companies will struggle. It is the way of life in our new global economy. Therefore, each organization must discover its future, plan for it, and then create it – starting today. It is no longer a “nice thing to do” – it is an economic necessity.
But, how do you discover your future? Start with your customers. What will they want in the future? What non-customers could you also serve with your existing and future offerings? These are constant questions for successful companies. With the internet, you can discover what new technologies and offerings are on the cutting edge of your industry. Do you have it and offer those services/products? If not, what are you going to do so you can and will?
As leaders, we must lead the way in creating our company’s future. Our activities must clearly show we want to lead a company of the future. How much of your time is devoted to discovering and creating the future? Spending a meaningful amount of time and effort will let everyone in your organization know that your present is good – but your future will be even better.