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Be Curious About Trends Before They Affect Your Company

Mar 9, 2008
An enterprise can learn a lot about irresistible forces by deciding to look at trends, even if they have not yet had an impact on the company. To take this offensive action requires overcoming the defensiveness of feeling that you already know all the answers.

Having a program based on

(1) assuming that you don't know what the irresistible forces are, and
(2) being open to learning

is the best solution to avoiding defensiveness all together.

Who will be the first to notice new irresistible forces?

Many effective enterprises have outside speakers give internal presentations for the purposes of becoming aware of new issues. Futurists, economic forecasters, style monitors, lifestyle trackers, and so forth often have an early insight. Experts in less well-known fields can be even more helpful.

For example, new consumer trends often start in certain neighborhoods in certain cities. Visiting and tracking what is going on there can provide years of lead time.

How can we easily track what these scouts will learn?

There are two parts to answering this question: finding an easy way to measure and notice changes is the first; and communicating this information effectively is the second. Such tracking systems often start out well but fall by the wayside when the people in the relevant jobs change.

A frequent problem is that the new people have no idea what they are supposed to use the tracking information for. More careful training and documentation are essential to effective monitoring over long periods of time.

What are the implications of what has already happened?

Demographics often cast the longest shadow for anticipating current and future conditions. Peter Drucker pointed out that births are occurring at a rate below the replacement level of the population in all developed countries. He reported that Italy has the lowest birth rate of any large, developed country.

This situation has significant meaning for retirement incomes, taxation, the age of the best customers, what types of products will be consumed in the most quantities in the future, and so forth. How will your enterprise be affected? What other irresistible forces will be created?

Essentially, you need to develop a key organizational skill of being quick to question why things happen, and relentless in determining what the real causes are. In the same way that Perry Mason often solved the case only at the last minute due to an admission by a hostile witness or facts dug up by his private detective, you will have to persevere until the causes are clear to you. The sooner you find them, the more valuable the answers will be.
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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