Anticipation can make us more adaptive
I have had the privilege this week of facilitating the strategy process of a new client. I must admit, I find it exciting to engage with new clients, listen to their unique stories, their aspirations and the many learnings they share with us. New challenges present themselves and the energy and attitude which this team exhibited, the way they embraced us and committed to building their future organization, was nothing less than admirable.
The one word we experienced most during this time was anticipation. It may not be the most common word you hear when it comes to strategy making, but let me suggest it could be one of the most important ones. Here’s why…let’s face it, we cannot predict the future and, in extraordinary times, as a ‘new normal’ emerges, even projecting into the future is fraught with difficulties. Anticipation, by contrast, is to practice positive engagement. We recognise the many resources and capabilities we already have, some right here and now, some within reach, others awaiting on us to seek out.
This team embraced anticipation. They could recognise the underlying, often silent forces which are propelling their business into the future, they could see the many possibilities which open-up once they begin to adapt to new terrains and, while not all that we anticipated was inherently ‘positive’…looking at these from today’s perspective, even these potential pitfalls of the future, were seen as manageable, as we could adapt.
Once we learn how to anticipate the future (very much a learned skill…), we can more readily engage in adaptive strategy – the process by which we can navigate new terrains. It enables us to make decisions in the present that could change the trajectory of our future business towards more desirable outcomes, it helps us navigate around potential pitfalls. It confirms to us that we indeed have choices, that our actions matter more than just for today. And with choices, comes clarity, greater determination and willingness to build the future we want. During this time, we become open, more receptive, often more collaborative, as we knew with greater clarity what we are building towards. You see, Adaptive strategy has this openness built-in. It allows for multiple feed-in loops, as new information becomes available on a continuous bases, as assumptions are tested – out there, in the market, and as we discover new insights, about ourselves, our capabilities and our appetite to transform.
Anticipation and Adaptiveness, we found, are two sides of the same coin and embracing them both can help us build a better future.
Have a good weekend everyone!
Saar Ben-Attar (Chief Instigator)
Featured podcast ePISODE
In this episode of Hidden Growth Champions, we speak with Dr. Adrian Saville, about the enduring traits of successful portfolio organisations, how they anticipate and adapt their way into the future, knowing what to feed and what to shoot.
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