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Preferred Futures sets the Vision

A more useful approach is to consider two basic questions. The first question is: 'What will be the future if we do not change direction or make a new choice about the future?' This is the question about the probable-future. The probable future is the natural vision of the manager: it is a vision of the intellect. It does not engender inspiration or hope. People only change their behaviour because of two feelings: fear and hope, and their more extreme kindred spirits desperation and inspiration. If a probable future scenario indicates that potential crisis or disaster is ahead it will generate fear-which becomes the catalyst of change. Managers often utilise fear to drive change. The hope creating manager is a rarity. However, even if we do not make a choice and are content to journey towards a probable-future in a business-as-usual fashion, fate, or the unforseen, can still intervene and force a change in destination, to create any one of a number of prospective-futures. The way of the Manager is usually dominated by considerations of probable and prospective futures, of having contingencies for many of these, and involves planning for probable and various prospective futures. This is what most traditional scenario planning involves.

In many years of undertaking this kind of scenario planning, I have never felt totally involved in the process. The process has always seemed to me to be be too analytical, academic and remote. What traditional scenario planning lacks is heart. It ignores the fact that humans yearn, have aspirations, that emotions are involved in futurism. As a result, in my own work I set out to develop a scenario and strategic development process which recognises that heart and hope both play a critical role in determining one's destiny, and in developing effective strategies for achieving success in the future.

Therefore many when they consider future possibilities ask the question: 'What should happen? What is my (our) dream? What is my (our) preferred-future?. This recognises that, in real life, people have aspirations and commitment. All us have dreams about the future. The important issue is whether we take these dreams seriously or whether we regard them only as blue sky reveries to be ignored in the interests of pragmatism and reality. This is the form of vision which is most natural to the leader. The respective ways of the manager and the leader are encapsulated by George Bernard Shaw: Some people see things as they are and ask why. Others see things as they could be and ask why not'

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