Using “Back from the Future Thinking” to Forecast Beyond 90 Days
One of the 5 Leadership Abilities you need to master is the ability to predict the future of your organization. This includes both the short term—e.g., the next 90 days—and beyond.
When you master this skill, you and your leadership team will know where your organization is going and exactly how you can expect to get there.
Within the Entrepreneurial Operating System, we have a couple of tools to do this. One way to get started is by asking four questions that will help you go into the far future and work your way back. I call this "Back from the Future Thinking."
Question #1: What’s Your 10-Year Target?
What do you want your company to look like in ten years? Capture it in a single statement. It can be quantitative or it can be qualitative, just as long as it captures where you want your organization to be in 10 years.
Question #2: What’s Your 3-Year Picture?
With this second question, we start to work our way back from the future to paint a crystal clear picture of what you’re going to look like in 3 years as an organization.
In your 3-year picture, you might include key measurables like:
- Number of clients
- Number of employees
- Revenue targets
- Profitability targets
- Numbers of products brought to the market
To create a powerful and inspiring vision your team can work toward, bring together everything that can make your 3-Year Picture 100% clear for you and your team.
Question #3: What Do You Need to Accomplish in the Next Year?
In this area, you’ll articulate a series of goals and measurables that your team will work together to achieve in the next year, such as:
- Revenue goals
- Profit goals
- 5-7 additional goals you’d like to get done in the next year
One simple way to create these goals is to look at your 3-year picture and determine what you need to accomplish in the next year to make your 3-year goals viable.
Question #4: What Do You Need to Accomplish in the Next 90 Days in Order to Be on Track?
We call these Rocks in the EOS system. These are your wildly important goals that absolutely must be accomplished in the next 90 days to realize your 1-Year Plan, your 3-Year Picture and your 10-Year Target.
In addition to making these measurable, the best way to make sure your Rocks get accomplished is by assigning one of your team members to be accountable for each one. That way, each Rock will have a champion who tracks its progress and advances its completion.
By using these four questions to bring you "back from the future," you’ll hone your ability to predict—to envision a future for your company and bring it to fruition.
To discover more about honing your ability to predict, check out Episode #9 of the Growing Leaders, Growing Companies podcast.