“Don’t say how did I get ‘here’ – focus on how you can go ‘there!’” – Futurist Jim Carroll
You need to become forward-oriented.
Looking forward, not back. Thinking about what comes next, not what just happened. Aware of the trends that will provide you with future opportunities, not the ones that you missed taking advantage of. It’s done by establishing forward-oriented innovation — ensuring that you are on the cutting edge in terms of what might be impacting us tomorrow, so that you don’t sit back, Homer-Simpson-like, saying “D’oh, what happened?”
Change your focus! Old glories and corporate nostalgia won’t define your future success — adaptability will! Stop thinking about the past, and focus firmly on the future. Ask yourself these questions: do you actually know what major trends will affect your industry, profession, and career in the next five years? Could you define the biggest threat to your company or career five years out? What career skills you will need at that time?
The most important trait that you can work on developing through the next year is becoming better at spotting the trends, opportunities, and challenges that will define your future. To survive and thrive tomorrow, you’ve got to align to everything that tomorrow might bring. You certainly won’t do that with a firm focus on what worked for you yesterday! You need to be able to:
- anticipate change, rather than being surprised by the change
- be proactive, not reactive, in your actions
- have a willingness to embrace change, not recoil from change
- surround yourself with people who look forward, not back
- have a strategy that is focused more on where you should be going rather than where you’ve been
- have an effective trends radar that identifies what comes next
- has an active strategy to align those trends to ‘what should we do about it!’
What you really need to decide to do is align to the future, rather than their past – and actively act upon that.