The Future Must Drive the Present

May 8, 2012

Entrepreneurs around the United States have long figured out that the only safe way to predict the future is to create it. In recent years this has become a motivational poster and not a valid driver or metric for businesses. This is fostered, at least in part, by many debates that focus on the negative economic climate of our country and its competitiveness or lack thereof with other countries rather than the opportunity that is created from perceived catastrophe. While it is important to bring “lessons learned” along and to acknowledge the facts, it is even more important to focus on the correct side of life which is simply put the future. As primitive and basic as the thought may be on the surface to an entrepreneur it proves to me more difficult to implement and execute on. 

If we will allow it then the past will to take up most of our present day. In fact we are surrounded by old news that gets regurgitated day in and day out. News outlets and analysts have an obligation to report the facts of the past, politicians have an incentive to report their accomplishments and their opponent’s shortcomings of the past, and lawmakers regulate based on events of the past. So now if our thought leadership and present day drive is based on old information and negative impressions then the only place we will end up is in the ugly part of the past over and again like creating an infinite loop. Simply put its called sight without vision. This infinite loop is described by many as an almost stagnant or very slow U.S. growth rate that is clearly missing the indication of a strong, sustained expansion in the near future. Then again, if the past is a factor then we should pay attention to Albert Einstein who described this very behavior as the definition of insanity. 

The key to successful entrepreneurship and fierce competitiveness is that the future must drive the present. Implement this concept as the foundation and driver for success as your teams back to the basics drill. Define the future by pinpointing where you want to be in 2-5 years from today as if money, time, resources or any other perceived limitations didn’t exist. Think and Dream big! There is no magic in small dreams. This becomes your bold declaration. Communicate this declaration as many times as you can and make sure you enroll people around you. Remember, the bestselling book of all time teaches us “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

How do you make it a reality? Figure out what’s missing to get from today to the future. Act, today, as the organization and the professionals that you declared you will be, add the missing pieces and focus on the adjustments necessary to achieve your goal.  Any setbacks along the way must be treated as powerful, teachable moments. Keep your focus on the future because, as Victor Hugo once said, “Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.”