Forward thinking is preparing to not only avoid pitfalls and failure, but to also achieve growth and success through innovation.
Many years ago, my research led me to identify common problems that companies face when trying to serve their customers’ needs and that helped to develop frameworks, programs and best practices around service innovation.
The practices and lessons I learned from that research, coupled with my career experiences, have given me a valuable education on forward-thinking best practices. Below are tips you can put into action and share with your team.
1. Unify Your Team around Goals Tied to One Vision
When you make hiring decisions or build a new team, you want a group of individuals who are looking to achieve the same end result. Think of yourself as a trendsetter — leading by example to bring your vision to life. Give your team a chance to bring ideas to the table in order to create a business environment that has forward momentum and excitement. I have met and hired a few of the people I have worked with in the corporate world, because when you network with great innovators, breakthrough success typically follows.
2. Branch Out and Learn from Other Organizations
It is important to get teams thinking ahead to invest in the future. Not sure where to start? Try looking for an organization outside of your own that is focused on big issues.
A good place to start brainstorming with others is with your local chamber of commerce, industry associations, or Toastmasters International. Investing real time and energy in these organizations can help build your innovative muscle. You can learn best practices from others and participate in finding solutions to common problems outside your own organization. You can then bring this knowledge back to your own team and discuss what can be learned from it to make your business stronger.
3. Remember the Rule of Three
Innovation typically requires three tries to get it right. If you try something once and it works perfectly, it probably wasn’t all that innovative. Doing things three times can force you to have a persistent forward-thinking focus. By the third time you practice an idea, you are able to see how the innovation may develop or unravel down the road and what’s needed to produce sustainable change.
4. Take Risks, Kick Tires, and Experiment
Businesses need to put processes into motion in order to see how they’ll turn out. Risk-taking can sometimes be an imperative factor to success. Taking the risk to experiment with a new process or idea for your team allows you to identify new areas for future growth.
Have you ever heard, Carol Bartz, the former CEO of Yahoo, and one of her favorite sayings was “Fail fast forward.” You will fail eventually, so just do it quickly, learn from it and then try again.
5. Abandon Control
Give up the illusion of control, because it’s deceptive. You can’t control every aspect of a business or project. Working with individuals whose knowledge, experience or potential you trust makes it easier to relinquish control. Remember that all knowledge workers are volunteers — we can’t force people to give up their knowledge or experience. We only volunteer for things we care about.
6. Read and Watch
In order to be a forward thinker, you need to have some substance behind your thoughts. Reading makes it much easier to identify trends and gain perspectives on success and mistakes. Being able to take a look into the mindset of others can benefit your own thought process.
7. Set Aside Time for Forward Thinking
My never-ending daily task list can distract me from putting focus on forward thinking. I know I need to dedicate at least one day each month to planning ahead. By simply scheduling this personal appointment for yourself, you’ll be impressed with how many new ideas you can create. Try setting up time during this specified day to meet with your team or others outside of your team to brainstorm even greater ideas for both the short and long-term.
Would you like to connect with me and get critical thinking insights, all while getting inspired to prosper and prepare yourself to succeed in a global economy?