It’s easy to achieve small goals based on short-term scenarios because you can clearly see the path to success and plan the steps from day one. But what about medium-term scenarios, where the path isn’t clear and the actions aren’t obvious? The best leaders know medium-term goals are the sweet spot for success, but you need a different approach for taking action.
Next week, I’m running my two-day Future Scenarios program for 25-30 leaders in a large organisation. They will map out some future scenarios to identify upcoming trends that could affect them, so they can make better decisions now for themselves and their teams.
These two days in the workshop are valuable, but the real value comes from they do afterwards. The future (inconveniently!) keeps changing, so they need to be ready to change as the future changes.
For the short-terms trends, this is easier – because they can see the path ahead, make plans, and identify some clear first steps.
But these short-term trends are probably already in their strategic thinking and operational plans. The real strategic value comes from the medium-term scenarios, which are important but less urgent.
These trends are over the horizon – and might not even occur. So it’s tempting to set them aside – especially because you don’t know exactly what steps to take right now.
But that would be a mistake.
Even if you can’t identify clear steps to act on these trends and scenarios, you CAN take steps to track and monitor them.
- Who on your team will take responsibility for tracking a trend?
- How will they track it (subscribing to reports, following experts, attending conferences, …)?
- How often will they report to you and the rest of the team?
- What important changes in these trends could trigger a change in your plans?
As an example, I worked with another group last year – the board of an organisation – and they identified four key medium-term trends. Four board members then volunteered to track one of those trends each, reporting back to the board monthly.
It sounds simple (and it is!), but it’s an essential process for leveraging all the hard work you put into identifying the trends and scenarios.
Download my worksheet “Track The Future” to use this process with your own team.