Because we don’t know what they will be.
Think of all the jobs that exist today but did not exist 20 years ago. Now imagine the other side of the coin: with all the new opportunities we couldn’t have predicted, think of all of the challenges that we won’t be able to predict.
We can’t solve all future problems now, but we can develop the skills and tools to deal with problems effectively.
This is an important part of the practice of futures literacy: learning how to imagine and prepare for the future.
The UNESCO lab on Future’s Literacy points out that we don’t know what problems our generations’ children and grandchildren will encounter. So we can’t prepare them for specific problems. We can only prepare them to be problem solvers.
Sounds a lot like business, doesn’t it?
Things don’t always go the way we planned, hoped, or expected. And often that is because of a new and surprising problem.
After all, if it hadn’t been a surprise, we wouldn’t have run into it.
But if we can’t predict and anticipate it, what can we do?
We can work on the things that we can control, and use those to make decisions about the rest.
The tricky part of making decisions isn’t the decision itself. It is the fear of the consequences of that decision. What if it is the wrong thing to do?
Anticipate consequences by basing your decisions on the fundamentals of your business. The parts that you can control are:
- Your company mission and guiding principles. These are a promise of who you are and what you do.
- Your value proposition. This is a promise of what you do for your clients.
- Your business priorities. Never forget who you are and why you are here
Things will happen.
Don’t try to ignore them.
Instead live and work through them, knowing why you make the decisions you make.