A few years ago, I attended a business event and heard  Dr. Arthur B. Shostak PhD., Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Drexel University, shared his business forecasts. He started by framing the talk with the concept that there are “always simultaneously four futures” in front of us.  The four futures Dr. Shostak shared are:

  1. The Probably Future, the future that requires the least effort. Another way to capture this future might be to say this is our unconscious future.
  2. The Possible Future, the future for which we might see the path more clearly. There may be some twist and turns, but they “make sense.”
  3. The Preferable Future, the future  that is least clear. This is our ideal future, our utopia. This is the future which scares us (in a good way). It’s the future for which we receive resistance when we paint our picture to colleagues and friends. Frankly, it’s the one we rarely allow ourselves to create, let alone think about.
  4. The Preventable Future, the future with a “dark side.” This future is the one that houses all our anxieties.

Using Dr. Shostak’s framework to stimulate your 2016 planning for remarkable team results, we want to focus on the Preferable Future. That’s the future that gets shared in senior presentations with broad strokes.

  • We will be our customer’s preferred provider.
  • We must bring innovation to our products and process.
  • Talent development is a core, new organization imperative.

What is your organization’s declared future state? What is your professional career future in each of these categories?

Getting Really Clear

Whatever stake you put in the ground as a team or as a professional, the most difficult and most important work is to be really clear about your desired future state. A remarkable result is dependent on that work. We will talk about that process next week.