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Practical Foresight: 10 Minutes Each Week


team discussing trends and scenarios

A couple of weeks ago we introduced a short list of five simple activities leaders can practice to develop foresight with their teams.  None of the activities is anything close to rocket science, and that’s on purpose.  Developing actionable foresight does not require fancy software or one thousand-hour projects (although those can be cool).  Any leadership team can run these activities and each activity can be broken down into three simple steps.

 

The first activity on the list is to block just ten minutes each week to share and discuss things your team has been seeing that might indicate some important future development.  This is about institutionalizing two things: 1) to create space to talk specifically and formally about “weak signals” of future change, and; 2) make these short, formal discussions a routine part of everyday life in the organization. 

 

  • Step 1: hit your calendars and find 10 minutes to schedule each week.  Weekly staff meetings are an obvious option.  Other options include a Friday morning coffee/Teams/Zoom discussion to close out the week on an exploratory note or a Monday talk to start the week with a bigger picture view.

  • Step 2: get the ball rolling for your team by sharing some of the weak signals you think you have been seeing.  This shows them you take the conversation seriously and provides examples for them to model.

  • Step 3: keep a log of the “weak signals” discussed each week.  Nothing fancy here.  A Word doc or an Excel sheet will suffice.  Just something to periodically reference and something that could be very useful at annual planning sessions.  These days, there are interesting tools in programs like Microsoft Teams that will even capture the meeting notes for you…

 

Here’s a couple of recommendations to make the weekly discussions useful for your foresight efforts.  First, don’t censor folks.  Let them share what they think is important and then discuss why they think those items might be important signals of future change.  Second, encourage thinking at the edge.  All changes start in the margins in some way.  If we want to detect potential shifts or disruptions in time to plan for them, then we need to pick up on their signals before they hit the mainstream.

 

Next time we will layout the steps for the second practical activity, building a picture of your operating environment.

 

If you are looking for some additional support to stand up an ongoing discussion about the future, then reach out to us today.

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