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Focus on vision for future, not present

When exploring ways to emerge in a stronger position following the economic crisis, consider reexamining your strategic thinking. What is your vision of what your organizations will be like coming out of the crisis or some number of years down the road?

A professor from Harvard used to carry a large rubber band to emphasize his point. Stretching the band, he would say his hand on the lower left represented current state and the hand on the upper right represented the desired state.

If we focus on the vision of the desired state, the tension in the system would help pull us up to reach our objective but if we focus on where we are today, the tension in the system will pull us down to where we stay fixed where we are today.

We need to be positive, look for opportunities to help us reach our vision and stay focused on our desired state. Other actions to take to help with our strategic thinking are to take a self-assessment of where we really are today and discover opportunities to improve.

Some questions that might be asked are:

-What will conditions be like in your organization when the vision is reached?

-What do you do best?

-What part of your organization would your competitors most like to emulate?

-What parts of your organization do you most fear to lose?

-Where are you weak in the eyes of your customers?

Where are you vulnerable in the eyes of your competitors?

-What are the three or four things that your organization must do well to succeed today and in the future?

-How do you measure those things?

-What would be the ideal number to reach on that measurement?

-Where are you now on those three or four things?

-What is stopping you from reaching the ideal numbers?

By recognizing that the present economic crisis presents opportunities to fine-tune your organization, to come out of the crisis in a stronger position by improving work processes and strategic thinking, you are providing leadership demanded by the times.

Dr. Noriaki Kano, Professor Emeritus of the Science University of Tokyo, has stated, "There are two kinds of motivation, crisis and leadership. Of the two, leadership is preferred."

We now have the opportunity for both.

(Questions or comments? E-mail Schultz at