The Dilemma of Once Upon a Future

By Bruce Wade

How is it possible to create a future story for your business or even your own life if you do not know where you are beginning?

This is the dilemma that a lot of strategists and futurists toil with daily. We have some of the best tools and methodologies available to sketch and colour the perfect future scenarios, but without a tethered link back to the present there will be no way to engineer the required connection to that defined future.

Strategy can be defined as the interconnected bridge that lies between our current resources and our desired destination.

The best way to construct this bridge is, to begin with the end in mind and build it back towards the beginning. Easier said than done: not because strategy bridges are hard to build, but because the two destinations are often vague and unreliable as destination points.

Let’s start with the future desired destination. This involves several horizon-casting and scenario-creation tools and techniques. It is relatively uncomplicated to develop a future image that will inspire people. We develop some great goals, add some sparkle with a dash of rewards and people will be inspired. But how realistic are these futures? They may be inspirational, but realistic is harder to hit.

Then we have to deal with our current reality. What I have seen is that most people are unaware of where they are. Despite being physically in the time/space continuum, they are trying to describe. We seem to live in an out-of-focus, blurry, non-real environment that is made up part of lies and part hope that is hard to describe in absolutes.

Ask anyone how they are and how their business is doing and you are sure to get a bunch of ‘Fine’, ‘All Good’ and even ‘Thriving’ answers. All of these are just ways to redirect us from the reality of a tough, hard-fought and struggling reality.

So, if you are in the process of developing a strategy for your future: pause a bit and define firstly where you are, no BS, just the real facts and figures. Then develop a clear realistic, feasible and sustainable future destination. Once these are done the strategy bridge is the easy part.

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