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Archive for January, 2011

3 ways to predict the future

To be an effective strategic thinker, it is essential to be able to think about your organisation in a future context. What’s the quickest and easiest way to figure out what that future might look like? Most of us don’t have a reliable crystal ball, so here’s three other methods, that are not too onerous:

1. Look for trends. In this time of information overload, it’s almost impossible to read and absorb everything. However, it is much easier than it used to be to identify trends. Once you start looking for trends in information you can identify more likely future scenarios. Trends start in the past so don’t forget to factor in what’s happened before (history repeats!).

2. Look for relevant information. If your organisation is in the Arts sector, what’s predicted for the primary industries may have little or no impact on you, but what’s happening in the home entertainment industry might. Look for relevant information and you will filter out a large percentage, more easily identifying trends relevant to you.

3. Read beyond the popular press. A lot of media space covers major world events that may have little relevance to your organisation’s future. Watch out for the smaller articles that may contain some gem of information. Read more in-depth magazines or find experts on-line who are worth listening to. Look up ‘futurists’ in wikipedia and check out some of their predictions that may be relevant to you. They do a lot of analysis for you.

It’s not likely you will predict everything about the future, but you can develop some realistic scenarios that help you better prepare your organisation for the future. You may also like to subscribe to my e-zine to get regular free articles aand other information to develop your strategic thinking skills. Go to http://www.strategies-direct.com.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Why New Year Resolutions Have Mostly Failed By Now

January 16, 2011 1 comment

The feel-good factor of New Year is usually wearing off by now, even here in the Southern Hemisphere where many people are still in summer holidays. And with it, the motivation to act on our New year resolutions can also wear off.

Psychologists are quick to point out that we humans are creatures of habit and that it takes a lot of effort to change. And new year resolutions are definitely about change. However, most of us make changes at various times, and many of us make a lot of changes over the period of a year. So why are new year resolutions really so difficult.

Here are 4 key reasons why:

1. They have no context. Without a clear idea of how you want to be, and a believable plan to get there, the resolution has no hope of getting onto your priority list. It doesn’t link to a bigger picture. For instance, a common resolution is to get fitter or lose weight, but without a picture of how you will look and feel, and some longer term and shorter term goals, the resolution alone is not enough.

2. There is usually no daily commitment to action. To implement goals of any kind, we need to daily question our priorities, and how we are going to contribute towards longer term goals. Without that process in our thinking, the goals are often pushed down the priority list, or just forgotten about.

3. The resolution is unrealistic or too vague. A resolution like ‘lose weight’ is too vague – how much, by when? But often once we determine a goal, it is unrealistic and so we quickly find we are failing or falling behind where we need to be to achieve the goal. Sometimes this links back to lack of context. If the long-term goal flows down to monthly and weekly goals they are likely to be more realistic than a goal with no context. Often in goal-setting, we also expect too little in the longer term, and too much in the short-term. Goal achievement tends to follow an exponential growth path – slow to start but increasing speed as time goes on.

4. It takes too much energy without a good vision and strategy. Without a clear vision, it is difficult to feel excited about goals and resolutions. Some people find visual reminders helpful, while others like to commit to someone else about their goal so that they can help keep them accountable.

Just like strategic planning for a business, new year resolutions are pointless if not implemented. Chunking them down to realistic goals and keeping a clear focus on both the short-term goals and the longer term vision allows us to take action and identify aligned opportunities to get there even quicker.

It’s not too late by the way. You can resurrect your resolutions now and build a context for them. January isn’t over yet!

Categories: Uncategorized
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