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On Beyond Foresight is a free monthly newsletter that provides readers with practical and applicable tips for creating long-term successful futures.


On Beyond Foresight: the Newsletter (No. 2, February 2013)


IMPLICATIONS AND IMPACTS

Why Do So Many Strategic Plans Fail?

 

I recently undertook the great task of building my 2 year old son a massive train table. This was my first time building anything like this. There were several steps involved and the entire project was stretched over 3 weeks, much of which was investigation and preparation. My wife and I spent hours working on the design and layout of the track. She was focusing on the little details and was keen on creating a realistic and believable layout. I on the other hand was focused on the big picture and felt that the strategic placement of a river or overpass was of no consequence. As we went through this experience I was reminded that we as individuals have an innate drive toward discovery and creation. Several times during this entire process we had to remind ourselves who we were building this table for. 

 

Rylans train table
My son and I enjoying his new train table

So often when we begin the daunting task of mapping out our long-term successful future, we forget to recognize who it is we are building the future for. I've sat in strategy sessions where the majority of time is spent on debating the fine details of implementation before ever considering the destination. This is why so many strategic plans fail.

 

When my wife and I stopped our back and forth about where the tracks should go, where the holes in the table should be, and whether we should try to use every piece of track and accessory available, we remembered the real purpose of our efforts (our destination), which was to capture the imagination of our toddler. Then, we were able to make better decisions moving forward.

 

The next time you meet with your team to discuss and implement strategic initiatives, begin with the end in mind. You may be thinking you do this already, and for those that actually do, your organization will continue to thrive. However, for many of us the focus is often on how the future looks from our perspective rather than the perspective of those who will actually inherit that future space. 

  

EMERGING ISSUES

The Real Story: Why Comcast Acquired NBC Universal from GE

 

In a recent interview for Mint Press News I was asked about the implications that Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal will have on our access to diversified news and information. Although this move certainly impacts the control over content and how it is disseminated, traditional fear about limited access, increased regulation, and industry monopolization is not the central issue.

Strategically speaking, there is little to gain from controlling and restricting access to information. If Comcast is smart, they will open the floodgates, increase bandwidth, and drastically reduce prices.

 

Why?

 

It's simple. The American public freely gives information away on a regular basis. What they don't realize is there is a huge market demand for that information. Comcast is well aware that the vast majority of young people rely on their internet connection for news and entertainment rather than cable outlets.

This is a strategic move to capitalize on the currency of information, rather than the control of it. If the currency of the future is data (both big and small), then media giants like Comcast are positioning themselves to be the 21st century data-banking elite.

 

Why did GE sell their shares in NBC Universal?

 

The official answer is about focusing on what they do best, namely manufacturing. GE continues to be a major powerhouse in the marketplace and it's not because they continuously come late to the party. GE has a keen eye on the long-term, so we have to consider the bigger strategic picture here. To be brief, here are few things to consider when it comes to the future of manufacturing:

  • 3D printing is disrupting traditional ideas of manufacturing opportunities faster than expected.
  • This past November GE bought Morris Technologies which manufactures jet engines via 3D printing.
  • In-home personal 3D printers like Makerbot™ are quickly becoming an affordable tool for the domestic market.
  • 3D printing requires the infrastructure to rapidly transmit code from place to place.

And there it is. In order for an idea or concept to generate revenue it must have two key components:

  1. The mechanism to make it manifest
  2. The vehicle / infrastructure to get it to the market

GE is positioned to dominate the output in this equation, while you and I dominate the input with an abundance of ideas and concepts. Comcast creates the optimal infrastructure for this transaction to work. Such an arrangement might render these banking giants of the future, "too big to fail."

 

  

NEW AND EXCITING
Strategic Insights Workshop  
 
In today's constantly changing environment it is critical that
organizations have a process for adopting new information about today's customers, disruptive technology, and fluctuations in the economy, into a strategic action plan. 

 

In this workshop you will: 
  • Ensure your strategic planning process is more comprehensive and better informed. 
  • Significantly increase your team's ability to translate emerging trends and issues into actionable strategies for dramatic growth both today and into the future. 
  • Significantly increase team member participation and confidence in the day-to-day decision making process.
  • Discover team members championing new insights into the organization's long-term aspirations, obstacles, and strategic initiatives.
For more information contact us at:
Office:
828.367.0290
Featured Podcast Interview 

Dale Tweedy Partner/Founder  
Stonegate Developers LLC
I had the great pleasure of interviewing serial entrepreneur and business strategist Dale Tweedy last month. Dale shares great insight and tips for executives and entrepreneurs on ways to reach new markets and stay ahead of the competition. You can listen to the full interview here.
 

FORESIGHT TO INSIGHT

Techniques for Improved Decision Making

 

Have you ever wondered why the act of decision-making has become increasingly difficult despite the fact that we have more information now than ever before?

 

Although it may seem cut and dry, the influx of information has caused individuals to question deeply held beliefs, most of which have been passed down through cultural norms and familial traditions. This in turn has created a crisis of relativity when it comes to analyzing data and coming to a single optimal conclusion.

 

There are two critical forms of data and information that must be examined before making important decisions. The first is the obvious tangible information in the form of reports, articles, research, numbers, etc. The second, and arguably the most important, is less obvious and often neglected all together.

 

Before we can make informed decisions we have to recognize the filters that information is processed through. No, I'm not talking about government surveillance and privatized media. I'm referring to our personal filters, also known as bias and assumptions, which is the second critical form of data that affects our decision-making. "In order to understand how our biases are affecting our decisions, it is helpful to start at the end of the decision-making process and work backward."

 

Here are two questions to ask yourself in order to begin creating a more comprehensive decision making process in your personal and professional life:

  1. What assumptions am I making about the available options and outcomes in this situation?
  2. What is the optimal emotional and mental state I'd like to experience upon completion or commencement of this decision?

Now go back and frame your options in light of the answers you gave to these questions. You may be surprised when new options present themselves in light of your desired outcomes. 

We must recognize both the tangible and intangible data that affects our decision-making in order to make truly "informed decisions."

In This Issue
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