Anticipatory organizations are always looking forward. Given the skills that allow them to identify the Hard Trends that will happen and the many opportunities they represent, they’re often able to achieve extraordinary levels of success.
The biggest problem that keeps organizations from being anticipatory is complacency.
Complacency can pose all sorts of significant problems. But, like other issues that the future can hold, there are strategies to anticipate the challenges that complacency can create and to address them as proactively and effectively as possible.
What’s Wrong with Complacency?
At first glance, complacency seems a rather underachieving villain when compared with the other problems that an organization may have to deal with. After all, you and your people worked hard to get to the level of success you have—what’s the crime with resting on your laurels just a bit?
First and foremost, complacency can act like a brake, slowing you down and allowing competitors to catch up. Your anticipatory skills may have allowed you to leap far ahead of others in the products and services you offer, but that environment is anything but static. Without a drive for continuous innovation, you’re giving others the chance to gain ground.
Just as important, being complacent can compromise an anticipatory mindset. In effect, you risk losing your edge. You’re happy with what you have, but what’s possible tomorrow somehow or another doesn’t seem as important as it once might have. Enjoying success in the present is good, but it can also cause a lack of interest in and enthusiasm for actively shaping the future that in turn can have significant consequences.
Combat Complacency: Keep Your Futureview Aligned and Positive
One of the core ideas of my Anticipatory Organization Model is a principle I refer to as Futureview©. In essence, this is how you and your organization see the future—is it a positive one ripe with opportunities or a future merely characterized by struggle and frustrating missteps? Even worse, is your view of the future one that is already obsolete?
That’s more than just an attitude—it’s a very real dynamic that, to a large degree, defines the future you’re going to experience. Phrased another way, your Futureview will define the future you. It starts now—if your Futureview is based on the new opportunities offered by transformational technology advances, it will be more upbeat and optimistic, and your actions in the present will reflect that outlook.
That single component alone can help stave off complacency. First, by very definition, Futureview involves an eye on tomorrow—the absolute opposite of a complacent attitude. Further, if your Futureview is based on the certainty that Hard Trends can offer, people have the confidence to make bold moves. That, too, can combat destructive complacency.
Just as valuable, a positive Futureview, one that sees the Good Old Days as ahead and not behind, can be very pervasive. If an organization’s leaders encourage a positive Futureview, that naturally spreads to others around them. They also see a bright future and want to come along for the ride. A positive Futureview also impacts the clients and customers with whom you work outside of your organization. In one respect, their view of doing business with you now and in the future is positive. Encouraged by an optimistic attitude that can spur innovations at all levels, your products and services also reflect an upbeat focus on tomorrow—again, the stark opposite of complacency.
All things considered, complacency isn’t the worst of all organizational sins. But it’s still a very real danger. Maintaining an anticipatory mindset and positive Futureview—and encouraging those around you to do the same—can head off the kind of complacency that takes hold and affords your competitors the opportunity to bolt past you.
Will what got you to where you are be enough to take you to the next level? If you’re not sure, you may need to enhance your FutureView. There are entire chapters on how to act in the future, not the past, in the book Anticipatory Organization. Available now at Amazon.com