Why Unpredictable Futures Means Taking Big And Brave Decisions

This is an image a young guy hanging off the top of a tower looking to the future for an article called Why unpredictable futures means taking big and brave decisions by Octopus Competitive Intelligence consulting agency advisory

Why unpredictable futures means taking big and brave decisions

Entrepreneurs are being asked to build a vision and a plan for the future, which is unknown. Over the next six months, you may be unable to predict how things will play out next month. And much less plan for the future over the next six months or several years. 

Market forces are driving an imminent bipolarity of winners and losers. And a lot faster than most recognise. The hyper-speed of the digital landscape will ironically be the thing that sees off many. And especially those who are unwilling or haven’t read the signs. 

  • Companies that have grown without an eye on this will likely suffer from the ‘wrong’ investor relationships. 
  • Others built on easy/cheap money cannot scale fast enough or worse.
  • Have a culture that can’t / won’t comprehend the necessary changes. They have enjoyed growth with the wrong priorities, possibly all three. 

For instance, the banking system as a whole and some in the UK and Europe are positively stone age. The future growth for the winners will still demand constant updating and upgrading of tech. 

Why unpredictable futures could mean the wrong turn

Perhaps not so much quantum-style advancements. But efficient scaling options. Otherwise, as we’ve seen in marketing services, the net result could be ending up with a ‘Salesforce.com’ problem. That’s having massive physical overheads. But that’s still way over the event horizon for almost everyone. 

During these times, there are really two approaches to thinking:

  1. Only two states exist, right and wrong, yes and no, good and bad, and beginning and end.
  2. Directional thinking – move forward, get closer, lighter greys/darker shades of greys. A test or a chance to learn. To be safer, smart-ish, right-ish, wrong-ish, finished-ish etc.

You will notice that successful people in business rarely offer clear and certain decisions. Two reasons: 

  1. All decisions are based on a certain level of uncertainty. Use competitive intelligence to reduce uncertainty. But remember, nothing can make a decision absolutely certain.
  2. Safe choices do not produce rewards. Rewards are usually only gained through risky and uncertain decisions. If a decision isn’t risky. If the insight is not incomplete, then the idea is too obvious and, therefore, the market too crowded.

What is competitive intelligence?

Competitive intelligence is the finding & critical analysis of information to make sense of what’s happening & why. Predict what’s going to happen & give the options to control the outcome. The insight to create more certainty & competitive advantage.

Emotional intelligence

In the world of uncertainty, directional thinking is a good idea. And it’s the thinking required to keep the moving parts directed at the desirable outcome. Emotional intelligence addresses directional thinking’s absence of tension resolution or completion.

Those who think they have clear-cut answers about the future are restricting their ability to see what’s actually happening and respond accordingly. Likewise, those who hesitate to confirm that well-defined path will get left behind.

You should cease seeking clear solutions. Stop looking for a beginning or an ending. Let go of stringent limitations. Provide the broadest possible guidelines. No answers are correct, only answers that point in the right direction.

There are going to be times when you make the wrong choice. Then abandon the course of action you thought was perfect a month ago. You might have to pay too much or too little to a supplier. You may have to explain to people why you were zigging when you were praising zagging’s benefits only yesterday. This is preferable to paralysing by fear or attempting to return to the way things were.

Given the limited information we access, the only way forward is to make the following: 

  • Mostly right decisions
  • Sort-of-right
  • On-balance-right decisions

Accepting grey is being off target or not even knowing exactly where the target is. The best decisions are usually directionally correct.

Why unpredictable futures means taking big and brave decisions

In conclusion, we cannot predict the future. But we can use competitive intelligence to build a strategic plan to help us stay ahead. The key is to be proactive in gathering data. And then analysing it and using it to create an effective long-term strategy to help your business grow and succeed. By utilising competitive intelligence, you will better understand what’s happening now and in the future.

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