David Friedfeld of ClearVision Optical shared his “vision” on looking past day 90. His thoughts on exploring new ideas, brainstorming and “brain food” are below. Please feel free to comment with your suggestions on how we can all look past day 90.
Let me start by saying that I agree one hundred percent with your two points in “The 91st Day”:
1. Strategic thinking is more than 90 days out.
2. Strategic thinking requires working with people outside your immediate group or industry media.
At CVO, we require most everyone in a decision making capacity to participate in some version of strategic thinking for the company or their department. Here are ten good ideas to accomplish that we use at CVO regularly:
1. Reading is fundamental. Read often, read outside your field, read with a purpose and read for inspiration.
2. Conduct surveys/research or participate in surveys/research.
3. Put yourself in a position to be interviewed.
4. Participate in or conduct focus groups.
5. Attend trade shows, educational breakfasts and meetings.
6. Belong to a mastermind group like Vistage or YPO.
7. Be open to new ideas whenever and wherever they come to you. Keep a “dream/vision pad” notepad (or task/note in your BB) and write down these thoughts when you hear them or think of them.
8. Conduct brainstorming sessions with a group of bright “associated” people. These people ARE NOT colleagues from your industry. They are your friends or acquaintances outside of your industry.
9. Listen to your kids. They may see many things differently than you do. They tweeted and joined Facebook long before you did, and they see the world from a different POV.
10. Listen to news shows from at least four different networks that represent different POV’s—CNN, Fox, NPR, BBC, Al Jazeera, Sky News and so on.
There is a key to developing the long-term strategic thinking that is discussed in Tom’s “The 91st Day.” Each of us has to understand that Darwinian Capitalism is alive and well—eat or be eaten, evolve or perish. With that approach, I suggest that companies consider making a profit that allows them to fuel a base of business and to develop talent. Then use that talent to morph the business over and over as your industry changes and as opportunities present themselves.
Apple, GE, Westinghouse, Wal-Mart, IBM, HP, Sony, Google and Luxottica (in my industry) are all different companies than what they started out to be. All of them have successfully navigated the challenges of change to position their companies strategically.
I also suggest that leaders consider that what worked yesterday will likely not work tomorrow, and for that reason they have to be looking for the “next river of cash.” An open and inquisitive mind is part of the game, as it “requires people to seek new strategies and to feed their brains from many of the different sources.”