“At what point will you realize your budget and your expectations are greatly misaligned?” – Futurist Jim Carroll
Most people want a BMW on a Ford Focus budget.
They are underfunded and over-expectated.
Think about it.
Most companies want a vastly different future and have a desire to chase new opportunities, but aren’t prepared to invest in it.
Leadership teams want to accelerate the capabilities and skill set of their teams but aren’t prepared to fund the steps necessary to do this.
Innovation-oriented groups want to accelerate the R&D that is necessary to discover the ideas of tomorrow but are always limited by the spending blocks put in place by the number-crunching bosses.
Associations and membership-oriented groups want to do more to prepare their members for tomorrow but are never prepared to do what is necessary to get there.
The mindset of penny-pinching blocks everyone from moving forward, meaning that they end up moving backward as time moves relentlessly on.
This is one of the biggest challenges I see in what I do day to day. I regularly get inquiries from leadership groups who believe it’s necessary that they take big, bold leaps into a new and different future. They plan a meeting somewhere to discuss and debate these issues and believe it’s necessary to find someone to give them unique insight, to give an in-depth trends insight into their meeting. But they aren’t prepared to spend money to do this.
I often feel like cheekily responding with this line: “I’m sorry I cannot donate my services for free to you at this time in your pursuit of making more money.” But I don’t – because I know that someone else will come along who is prepared to invest in tomorrow in order to get to tomorrow. I’ll still get to the number of planned events I am willing to take on – they’ll end up with some pretty marginal insight and will end up wasting a lot of their time.
I bet you run into this all the time! You see people in departments and organizations falling behind as the future falls forward, simply because of a mind-numbing focus on ‘the budget.’ Look – I get it – I’m a professional CPA by background, after all, going back to my work in that field 40 years ago. But I also know from watching the stories of innovation from history and from the current day that the only ones who get ahead, are those who are prepared to invest what is necessary to get ahead. Budgets become tools that enforce the thinking of the lowest common denominator and establish a foundation of mediocrity on which future failure is constructed. Budgets are a weapon of the feeble-minded.
Part of the challenge is that in this fast-moving, complex world, the old rules that economists used to rely upon no longer make sense, and no longer trend out. The result is that the challenge of investment has. been made worse by the ‘recession that has never happened‘. After all, it was just a year ago this week that Bloomberg predicted with 100% certainty that we were in for a recession through the next year.
My advice? Trust your local futurist, not an economist, to tell you what’s going on. Because even the Financial Times knows that the latter is somewhat, um, insight-challenged. LOL!
To be honest, it might even be that with this type of track record, most economists don’t know what is really going on! Neither do those who construct the budget, enforce mediocrity, and force an attitude of thinking small when it’s those who think big are the ones who could get ahead. An economist will tell you how the economy is doing today.
But a futurist?
We’ll let you know where it will be tomorrow!
Nothing great was ever achieved by pinching your pennies!