Hints & Tips Blog

The Importance of Forward Thinking

When you contemplate the role you play in your organisation, are you working in or on your business?

This may sound like an odd question. What does it mean, and what is its importance in business strategy?

There are two main ways that people work, and your response to the ‘in or on’ question tells us as business consultants what kind of vision you have for your company’s future.

If you answer ‘on the business’, this indicates that you’re playing the long game and thinking forward about where your business is going. If you answer ‘in the business’, this indicates that you’re so bogged down in the day-to-day activities of the business that you leave yourself no time to think about the bigger picture.

Be honest with yourself when you answer this question. If you realise that you’re working in your business, it’s time to take a step back and give some thought to what your role should be as a leader.

The main job of a business leader is to set your business in a clear direction. Establish your goals for the future of the organisation and make sure that you have a team who are ready and able to reach them. If you spend all your time labouring at the coalface, your business will stop growing and begin to struggle. In this case, not only will you not achieve the success you deserve, but the motivation of your team will gradually diminish as they work for a stagnating company.

If you can’t answer the ‘in/on’ question with any degree of certainty, try and determine where most of your time goes on any given day. If you find you are spending most of your time performing simple tasks and dealing with the day-to-day requests of your staff, you’re veering towards the ‘in’ end of the spectrum. This means you’re not likely to be thinking forward about the next likely business opportunity or potential area for expansion. This is the top of a slippery slope and not where you want to be.

What can you do if you realise you’re working in your business?

First of all, assess your daily activities. Ask yourself why you’re doing any particular task and whether there’s anyone else who could be doing it. You can begin to prioritise more effectively simply by being conscious of this question.

The overall aim is to embrace forward-thinking. This means freeing up enough time for yourself so that you can contemplate the bigger picture. Once you’ve reshuffled your priorities, you’ll be ready to begin working on the business.

At this point, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is the vision of your business?
  2. Where does the company presently stand in respect to that vision?
  3. What steps might you have to take so that the vision can be achieved?

If you can do all of this, then you’ll find yourself well on the way to being ‘on the business’ and a successful future.

To learn more about forward-thinking and a successful business strategy, click here.


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