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Forget Lean and Agile. It’s Time to Be Anticipatory

Posted on by Brandon Klein

We are all good at reacting and responding, putting out fires, and crisis management. In addition, organizations large and small have learned how to be lean and agile, and how to best execute a strategy at a high level.

However, despite these skills, General Motors still declared bankruptcy, Blockbuster closed its last store, and Blackberry quickly moved from leading to bleeding. And let’s not forget Hewlett-Packard, Sony, Dell, and a host of other companies who failed to thrive despite its leaders and workers being constantly busy.

To thrive in this new age of hyper-change and growing uncertainty, it is now an imperative to learn a new competency — how to accurately anticipate the future.

That may seem impossible, but it’s not. The future is there for you to see when you know where and how to look for it. And when you and your employees master this skill, you’ll be able to create what I call an “anticipatory organization.”

Based on three decades of research and applying the principles I’ve developed to organizations worldwide, I have developed a way of separating what I call Hard Trends from Soft Trends. Over the years I’ve written about this extensively in books and articles.

A Hard Trend is a projection based on measurable, tangible, and fully predictable facts, events, or objects. It’s something that will happen: a future fact that cannot be changed. In contrast, a Soft Trend is a projection based on statistics that have the appearance of being tangible, fully predictable facts. It’s something that might happen: a future maybe. Soft Trends can be changed, which means they provide a powerful vehicle to influence the future and can be capitalized on.