Whilst running a leadership conference for a client recently, Sarah was struck by a conversation about how much time in business is spent looking backwards at past performance versus looking ahead at what’s on the horizon…
One of the challenges we gave managers and leaders at the conference was to share things they had done differently in the past year that had helped the business reach (and in some cases smash through) its targets. As always with such discussions, there were a few absolute gems that made everyone utter words such as, ‘that’s blinding, I can’t believe I haven’t thought of it before!’ The idea which captured everyone’s imagination was in this league.
“My team and I had a bit of a ‘light bulb’ moment,” recounted the manager, “when we realised that we were spending about 90 percent of our time looking back, reviewing and bemoaning our past performance and only 10 percent on looking ahead, planning and trying new approaches to things that needed fixing. We decided that the only way we would stay on top of all the things we have to achieve this year and be able to engage our people in achieving with us, would be to change the balance. We went for a radical shift and promised ourselves to spend three-quarters of our time looking to the future rather than the past.”
Underpinning this new approach was an important change in belief; it’s good to review the past but the real benefit of doing so is to learn from the experience and then either plan to repeat it or try something different. “We realised,” continued the manager, “that holding onto the negative aspects of the past would only ever serve to bring our spirits down. We now have a very different type of energy!”
I hope this short story gives you some ‘thinking food’ in the same way it did for the conference delegates… Do let me know if it does!