The Sunday Mail
Hunt for Greatness
The future is coming, very fast. Let it not find you unprepared, unconcerned and unthinking. Strategy is more than a mere document but a way of thinking and acting. Anticipation is the essence of all strategy. When you do not see the future, the future may not want to see you. By anticipating the future, you position yourself for opportunity and leverage.
In the land of greatness, there is no space for thinking and acting like a victim. You either direct your future or someone else will. When you blame someone for anything you give up the power to change and make a difference. Think deeply about the future instead of worrying fearfully about it. Elevate your view of the future and choose to be strategic in your view. Do not just think about yesterday and today. Think a few moves ahead.
Anticipating the future means that you consider the vital questions of strategy: What is your winning aspiration and your picture of success? If you do not know what you really want, anything will be good enough. Ask yourself where you will play.
You cannot play everywhere and in any battlefield and hope to win. Ask yourself how you intend to win. You cannot just march into the future with hope as your strategy playbook. You need something a little more than that. Ask what capabilities and competencies you need to win the playfields of the future. Do not pride yourself with the learning and certifications of the past.
Past success is not a guarantee for future success. Ask what systems and process you need to put in place to manage in the new realities. The future belongs to the prepared. The unprepared should just prepare for lamentations, complaints and ceaseless grumblings. The problems of today will not last forever. The limitations of today will not be there forever. The blinkers of today should not blind you of the opportunities of the future. Resolve that you will not die in the winter and expire in action. Keep focused and keep moving.
This is not the end but the beginning of greater things, better than you have known and seen yet. Get excited because there is more on the horizon than in the past. The future is bright and waiting for you to show up prepared and ready to engage. Be more opportunity-minded instead of being problem-minded. Adopt a growth mindset and not a fixed mindset. Do not be left behind, thinking that the past and the present are the same; or that the present and the future are the same.
Mind your blind spots
A blind spot is an unrecognised weakness or threat that has the potential to undermine your success. Blind spots are strategic landmines waiting to blow up. In boxing they say that the blow that gets you down might not be the hardest but it is the one that you did not see coming. Increase your self awareness, get feedback and your blind spots will shrink in size. A blind spot makes you vulnerable to the attacks of the future.
There are four common blind spots that you must be on the lookout for. These are blind spots about yourself, your team, your field of play or market and your organisation. Most strategies fall victim to the blind spots that are not recognised early and dealt with ruthlessly. Blind spots can be costly and they do not go away by being ignored. They require the humility to keep learning, ask for and listen to feedback and also invest time in reflection and honest conversations.
The blind spot about self, blinds your own strategic thinking. This involves thinking that the present is the past. When things change and you fail to change you risk being changed. Sometimes this self-blind spot is manifested in the belief that some rules do not apply to you and you are the exception. Life unfortunately does not work that way and it always catches up.
Luck can carry you some distance but never to your greatness destination. Hope can sustain you for a while, but principles will always reign supreme. You may also not be aware of your impact on others and the higher you rise the more people are reluctant to give you feedback.
Unless you get quality feedback, you will always have a choir of praise singers to tell you what you want to hear and to sing songs that inflate your ego, but blind you strategically. The real strategic mission has to take the front seat, while we consign the ego to the back seat.
Your team may also succumb to some blind spots that affect your strategic field of view and thinking. The blind spot in teams are made larger when there is an absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability and a glaring inattention to results.
With this also comes some diseases that afflict teams and reduce the teams ability to anticipate the future, like failing to focus on a few priorities, avoiding tough conversations, trusting the wrong individuals and being blind to the future. Teams that are so content with the past and the present will be blind to the future and may easily be caught napping by the future.
Being blind to the future results in neglecting what matters, customer value, placing wrong bets in the market, losing proprietary and points of advantage, missing significant opportunities or simply being caught napping by change. Sleep as long as you like, but never be caught strategically asleep.
Blind spot regarding the organisation and the field of play or market could have serious strategic consequences. These blind spots include reading rumours and opinions as facts. It is easy to follow the fashionable trends of the day instead of doing your own thinking.
Misreading the play field is also an important blind spot and so is clinging to the status quo, underestimating the competition and where it comes from, and being over optimistic.
You do not afford the luxury of always reacting. If you are in perennial reaction mode you will be surprised by the future that others would have created for you. Be diligent in searching the corners to see what is next. Those who do not see the future will always abuse the present.
Develop your opportunity canvas and your ability to think through the fog of popular opinion and the floods of negativity. Chose to participate actively in shaping the future rather than just watching helplessly as it comes. When opportunity meets preparation, the results are significant success and unstoppable strategic momentum.
Committed to your greatness.
Milton Kamwendo is a leading international transformational and motivational speaker, author, and growth mentor. He is a cutting-edge strategy, team-building and organisation development facilitator and consultant. His life purpose is to inspire and promote greatness. He can be reached at: [email protected] and Twitter: @MiltonKamwendo or WhatsApp at: 0772422634. His website is: www.miltonkamwendo.com.