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Identify the Future Best Practice in Anticipating Changes in Irresistible Forces

Mar 30, 2008
Irresistible forces can drive us towards or away from our goals. With optimal strategies, irresistible forces always help.

But to gain that perspective, you need to be able to anticipate changes in the forces better than anyone else.

Am I Gaining?

Determining that a trend has changed is clearly much less helpful than successfully anticipating that change with a significant lead time. In a sense, the former only tells you whether your anticipation has been accurate or not.

Like the squirrel racing on the wheel in its cage, you may be running hard but not making much progress.

Your look at what other firms and organizations are doing to understand irresistible forces will also need to include an investigation of how these other groups are using measurements to anticipate changes in irresistible forces.

You should ask these questions:

-Which ones are most often accurate in locating continuing shifts in the irresistible force?

-Which ones are best at the earliest identification of a shift?

-Which possible shifts in direction are all of these measures poor at identifying?

-Which measures would be better at locating the shifts that currently aren't being well identified?

To that type of investigation, you now need to add a consideration of causes and effects.

If you have found accurate measurements for describing changes in directions, surely there are causes of the changes that themselves can be measured.

The Chicken, or the Egg, or the DNA, or the Intent, or the Impulse?

Our search for the future best practice has to take us very far back toward initial impetuses in order to find the primary causes. Let's look at an example.

Imagine that you are a brokerage firm and you're planning for future staffing needs.

You need to know how the securities markets will be performing in the future.

When stock prices are rising, you can make money having lots of capacity to handle trading orders.

When stock prices are falling, you need to cut resources, including staffing.

Anticipating the need to shift is very valuable because it takes time and lots of money to add systems capabilities and to recruit, hire, and train new employees.

Both starting and stopping large activities in this area requires some advance notice for the best results.

If anyone could always anticipate the general direction of the stock market, that ability would have far more valuable applications, of course, than just adjusting the computer systems expansion and the hiring and training cycles in brokerage firms.

That's a good example of why studying more about these irresistible forces can be valuable: You may develop insights that are good enough to allow you to build other competitive benefits.

For example, you might become effective enough at understanding the general trend of the stock market to be able to provide better sorts of advice to your brokerage customers so that they would make more money, spend more of that money with you, and stay with you longer.

When you ask lots of people how they anticipate the direction of the stock market, you will hear answers involving measures such as corporate earnings, interest rates, investor sentiment, flow of investment funds, the value of the dollar versus other currencies, and the level of the market compared to various measures.

Here is where the fun begins: In addition to determining which of these measures is better for anticipating results, you need to develop a sense of what causes what.

Let's take investor sentiment. Many people find that investor sentiment tends to follow the market. If you've been enjoying steady stock-price gains, you are likely to continue to believe that steady gains will occur in the future.

After stock prices drop for a long time, you are likely to believe that recovery is far off.

Now this historically-dependent sentiment clearly has a real effect on the future of the market because it determines how much new money some investors put into the market.

If we work backward from here, we want to know what caused the market to rise or fall in the past that was independent of investor sentiment, because investor sentiment is a lagging indicator.

We know that investor sentiment is important though because it will help us sustain the move once it has begun.

Now, consider a new measurement you may not have considered before: the effectiveness of top managements in running their companies to improve stock-price growth, independent of economic and financial market conditions.

Even in the worst markets, some stocks will rise because managements are doing such a superb job of pleasing investors. Even in the best markets, other stocks will fall because managements are unintentionally annoying investors.

Our brokerage firm could develop some great insights into the future trend of specific stocks from looking at a measurement like top management effectiveness in improving stock-price growth.

In fact, the measurement could have other profound benefits like helping the firm to know which stocks to recommend.

The measurement could also be proprietary to the brokerage company if no one else attempted to measure this factor, and the firm used its own analysts to gather proprietary data for the measurement.

In this search for better and earlier anticipation, you can always look for a still earlier cause.

In the case of the measurement of management effectiveness in stock price improvement, the cause might be the source and quality of the education that some managements received about how to improve stock prices that others did not.

Your brokerage firm could then monitor such educational efforts in companies.

This backward-looking search for causes should and can continue until useful insights are no longer available.

In the brokerage example, the decision to pursue the education those managements receive could be caused by articles and advertising in leading business publications describing the benefits of this education.

Those articles and advertising are in turn caused by the intent of editors (who plan their features for the issue) and education providers (who buy the advertising).

Further research might even uncover causes of these peoples' intentions, such as missing their revenue targets and wanting to improve sales.

The future best practice in anticipating changes in irresistible forces is to use more data sources and to go backward into more levels of prior causes of causes to the irresistible force change.

Employing that process should help you create many more breakthrough solutions.
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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