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6 minute read

Is Firefighting Disrupting Your Future?

Dr. Thomas Vande Zande
6 minute read

When talking to friends and family, the first topic to come up is always work or our jobs. During the conversations, we hear about how they are always putting out fires at work. What they are referring to is the reaction or response to something impactful yet unexpected. It's called operational firefighting. A few examples are last-minute meetings, team problems, or an unexpected tasking. Sometimes this is as simple as an email asking for a response or as complex as a strategy shift when a competitor introduces a new product.

Questioning a new surprise or challenge can lead to a feeling of disruption. The bad news is that these surprises and challenges will not slow anytime soon. The emergence of change translates to reaction management, reinforcing that undesired firefighting mentality. The good news is there is a way to get ahead of it.

Getting Ahead of Dramatic Changes

Have you ever heard yourself say something like: "We have to get ahead of these things” or “How did we not see that coming?” You couldn't be any closer to the truth.

Getting in front of dramatically-impactful changes in your immediate external environments prevents surprises. Allowing you to plan for your business’ near- and long-term futures.

We all love it when a plan comes together. We love it, even more, when we are successful because things go according to our plans. There are a lot of fronts that are changing all at once. A better question you may be asking is, "How do we stay ahead of so many rapidly-changing environments?" Good question. This is where having a consulting futurist as an advisor becomes your edge.

Your Upper Hand

Consulting futurists are professionals at understanding changes and how each shapes the future. They embrace the fact that many futures (possibilities and outcomes) exist at the same time. All it takes is one event or action to shift things onto a different path—which can cause surprise or challenge that may lead to an operational fire.

Shifts or environmental changes can cause fires to occur in one of two ways. First, when it occurs without notice and disrupts current operations. And second, when your organization causes a shift to steer things in your favor. We call the latter shaping your preferred future.

Rather than changes and events outside of your control surprising you, we first try to understand what is driving them. Use that understanding to identify possible outcomes and shrink the number of things you do not know or haven't heard. Then, create actions and plans to handle the things that pose a threat or offer opportunity.

You must get in front of changes (either existing or not) that affect your organization's future. Deliberate action prevents them from becoming another operational fire. That way, you can take full advantage of new opportunities that could increase revenues or competitive position. And, mitigate threats that could jeopardize your future efforts and time.

Get in Front of Change

Think about how great would it be to know about the things that cause stress and frustration before they emerge? Let alone the time, energy, and money saved not having to react to something that you never saw coming.

Save yourself the stress, frustration, and sleepless nights. Talk to Flagship Futures Group (FFG) today and get in front of impactful changes before they emerge.

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