Crisis or anticipation? This is the decision every leader must make in regards to the future. The years that lie ahead of any organization are filled with twists, turns, and unexpected realities, and it is the job of the leaders to make the wiser choice to forecast the future rather than react to the changing present (Ashley & Morrison, 1995). The challenge for forecasting leaders is to know the breadth of issues that need to be considered for a clear understanding of what is to come.
The temptation for leaders to make when putting together a forecast is focusing on a single issue, whether it is from a desire to oversimplify the outlook or to push forward a specific agenda. When a forecast focuses on a single issue, chances are the truth is compromised and reasonable analysis is abandoned to propose such an extreme view that has a single issue (Gordon, 2008). To do this, a single issue must be followed through its progression while assuming the rest of the world stands still (Gordon, 2008).
A quality forecast is developed with the consideration of several issues to develop a broad perspective on a broad number of possibilities that will shape the coming future. Forecasting is complex and the goal is to narrow uncertainty without falling into the trap of oversimplifying the future (Gordon, 2008). The future is irreducible from its multifactorial situations to only one or two dominating issues (Gordon, 2008). It is important that forecasting is not an exact science and the goal is not to create a correct forecast. The goal of a quality forecast is to identify emerging issues and potential events that will shape the future, and the lead the organization to prepare mentally and organizationally for a variety of scenarios and surprising twists of fate (Gordon, 2008).
Ashley, W. C., & Morrison, J. L. (1995). Anticipatory management: 10 power tools for achieving excellence into the 21st century. Leesburg, Va.: IAP.
Gordon, A. (2008). Future Savvy: Identifying Trends to Make Better Decisions, Manage Uncertainty, and Profit from Change. AMACOM.