The best way to predict the future is to create it!
October 12, 2021
This often quoted phrase is typically credited to Abraham Lincoln, but Fact Checker research debunked this attribution as false, leaving the real author unknown.
Regardless of who wrote it or said it, the phrase is a powerful statement about the benefits of setting a vision for the future.
More specifically, if you create a vision of the future that you want to see, you will find that all the energy and resources necessary to make it a reality will slowly but surely come together to ensure that it does.
One of the best examples from history took place on a relatively warm day in December of 1962 in the Rice University football stadium in Houston, Texas.
In the Spring of the previous year, the United States of America came to the realization that it was losing a "space race" with the Soviet Union.
On April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space, and the United States needed to make a bold response.
That response was most clearly articulated by President John F. Kennedy on that December day in Houston in what has come to be known as "the moon speech."
President Kennedy famously said, "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."
"Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."
Put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
No fuzz on that goal/vision.
The entire nation was focused.
Over the course of the next seven years, the United States invested hundreds of millions of dollars, and tens of millions of man hours, to ensure that Kennedy's vision, that the United States will win the race, was fulfilled.
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong placed his foot on the surface of the moon as the culmination, and ultimate fulfillment, of that vision.
Clarifying Your Vision
In my Clarifying Your Vision on-demand class, we teach small business owners a simple process for clarifying their vision.
For small businesses, this effort has a profound effect on the organization, getting everyone on the same page, rowing in the same direction, creating context and greater meaning for the daily work each and every person does to achieve that vision of the future.
Your vision statement captures in one sentence, the essence of what you’re trying to achieve as an organization.
It's "aspirational". A picture of what you want the world to look like in the future, but does not yet exist.
The following are a few examples from brands you're familiar with.
A computer on every desk and in every home, running Microsoft software.
To become the world's most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.
To be Earth's most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world's transition to electric vehicles.
Future State Vision
Your future state vision describes what your organization will look like, act like, feel like, and perform like at some point in the future.
The language describes the vision in the present tense, as if what you're describing is happening now.
It's important that your vision is motivational, creates excitement for the team, and allows them to see how the work they do each day fits into the larger picture that your vision has created.
The following is an example for the fictitious company, Gigabyte IT Solutions.
Future State Vision
By July of 2025, Gigabyte IT Solutions is a well-known, full-service computer consulting services company with 5 locations in the Phoenix metro area, including our headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona. Each store experiences annual sales of 1.5MM with a net profit margin of 14%. Our services not only include consulting work, but also hardware and software installation and training, network design, website creation and support as well as high-speed, dedicated Internet access.
Each office has 10 employees consisting of: an Office Manager, 2-3 Network Technicians, and 6-7 Computer Technicians. We’re known as not the cheapest company, but the one you go to when you don’t want to have to worry at all about your IT infrastructure. We can handle any computer issue of any kind, and we can do It fast. We welcome challenges as a chance to demonstrate our brilliant ingenuity. Our employees are like the counter-terrorist agents you see on television: amazingly skilled, dedicated, and completely focused on success.
(adapted from E-Myth Worldwide, Inc.)
If Don't Know Where You're Going, Any Road Will Get You There
This quote is from George Harrison of the Beatles, and how true it is.
If you've taken the time to draft your own future state vision, then you definitely know where you're going, and it's now time to pick the best road to get you there.
The "road" is defined by very specific goals you set to achieve your vision.
We teach small business owners a goal setting process that starts with three-year goals.
Three years is a number that most small business owners can realistically plan for and see how steps taken today will have an impact on outcomes in three year's time.
With three-year goals clearly defined, the next step is to establish one-year goals that are necessary to accomplish the three-year goals.
Lastly, as part of the goal setting process, you need to establish quarterly-goals that define the steps required to achieve your one-year goals.
An under appreciated benefit of goal setting as I've just laid out, is that once you've figured out the best road to take you to your future state vision, you can forget about the one-year and three-year goals, at least for the moment, and be hyper focused on making certain the quarterly goals are achieved over the next 90 days.
All too often, people set themselves up for failure when they waste time worrying today about mid or long range goals that don't need to be addressed until later, causing overwhelm at best, and paralysis to get anything done at worst.
By compartmentalizing your priorities into three-year, one-year and ninety-day goals, you are setting yourself up for success, and freeing yourself to put all of your energy and resources only into the short-term tasks required today, with full trust that your well thought out goals will get you to that future state vision when you tackle them in the time and order you've laid out.
The results in efficiency, effectiveness, productivity, and team engagement are incredible.
Team morale, enthusiasm, and excitement is substantially boosted as you successfully check-off each goal quarter by quarter, year by year, and ultimately when you look back three years from today and celebrate your achievement of the future you created three years previous.
If you're ready to take action today, we'd like to help by providing you with a free gift.
Click here to download your free copy of "Vision Builder", a tool that will help you to create both a vision statement and future state vision for your organization. If you would like more help creating a vision for your organization, consider taking my Clarifying Your Vision on-demand class.
Best of luck "creating your own future," and don't forget to....
Stay focused on your freedom!
Listen to the podcast episode: #009 The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Create It!