I was part of a discussion on the HP 20/20 ebook effort that asked: “Whom to ask for the future?”
I responded with you should ask the people who have a plan for their future.
Another responded that “those who have a plan are living in the past. You should look to yourself for the future.” That seemed a bit to incestuous a perspective for my taste, so I responded with:
I have always been one of those people who like Abraham Lincoln view that:
‘The best way to predict your future is to create it’
If you don't have a plan (or look to those who do), then you are subject to the currents that carry you down the stream of time. That may be an enjoyable ride, but when you hit the rapids - quite unpredictable. Many times you can plan for those disruptive times and limit the turbulence or even avoid the turmoil altogether. That is part of the reason I say look for those with a plan.
I'd never thought about the fact that those visionaries made those plans in their past. I say to individuals with that perspective that for those with foresight, ‘the past’ may be more of a relative term -- from a planning perspective. Those who play chess don't just wait for the moves to develop before they start planning for the future. Quite a bit of chess is about pattern recognition and contigency planning. Granted our business future is much more complicated than chess.
The discussion moved on from there to look at system thinking vs. planning in isolation. Please join in if you have a view to share.