FORESIGHT – Do we really apply it?

How many times during your lifetime you must have heard the word “foresight”

Guess for most of us its throughout our lifespan – to a child  his parents who keep poking that he should have the foresight to do things right or should have the vision of the career he wants to make by studying hard, to a grown up its always the boss who pins the wrongs on his subordinates for not having any foresight to have avoided or solved the problem.

Soon the word starts haunting us.

Well if you come down to brass tacks it is us Indians who should be masters on this art. Look at it this way – the day you are born your parents get a kundli (birth Chart) made for you, from that day the kundli decides your life and various paths you will take.

Once you grow up, you start taking interest in your future & start reading or visiting all types of quack(s), be it a fortune teller or a tarot reader or even a parrot reader (God help).

We are hearing that apart from getting their hands & faces read there are experts who also read private-parts of your anatomy to suggest your future. Seriously???  Don’t know where this will end!!!

But coming back to the subject, once you have crossed your teens, you know all about yourself & your supposed to be, future. You know what numbers are good for you and what colour suits you. So as far as you are concerned you have a very good foresight about yourself (rightly or wrongly) and where you are heading.

Now coming to application of foresight in our other spheres of life…why is it that we hesitate? You would have seen simple issues taking indefinite time to be settled. People are reluctant and procrastinate & are afraid to take simple decisions due to fear of failure.

Many a times the solution is staring at them in their face but it is ‘too much analysis leading to paralyses’ scenario.

Is it really that difficult for foresee!!

To begin with, in a working environment most of us use past experience to a problem & make our future decisions. This is a safe method and you probably are more often right than wrong.

For all of us, human beings whenever confronted with a new problem, we have our second brain or what they say “Gut Instinct” immediately throw up a way ahead. Some of us also call this the ‘sixth sense’.

There have been lot of on-going studies done on this gut feel & more and more findings suggest that your gut does communicate with the brain during such trying times when u are saddled with an issue.

So is it really that simple!! To move with your instinct & take decisions and hope for the best.

Frankly I think your instinct or gut feel is more a reaction to the past experiences one has undergone. This is a risky proposition as our mind is a documented computer for pattern recognition.

So whenever we are confronted with anything unique, our mind tries to fit it in patterns existing in our mind. The problem is in this fitting process that one tends to take wrong decisions.

But the flip side is that nearly 60% of the decisions taken this way have proved not to be wrong. A balance between your gut & your personal past experience is the ideal way forward.

I have seen many a managers during my corporate journey , just not taking decisions & waiting either for their juniors or seniors to suggest a way forward. I am sure their gut must be shouting at them the way forward but being too analytical or too scared… they let things just drift around.

These are the people who if they want to grow need to tighten up. To begin with, even if you not taking decision,think what is the way forward and keep the decision to yourself! Somewhere down the line the issue gets resolved, analyse it if it is close to what you thought! If yes, then good.

Keep monitoring how your decisions would have panned out over a period & if you find a healthy strike rate …… Bingo . There you are now a better manager. Start taking decisions using a combo of gut & experience.

Above was basically taking correct decisions for any issues coming your way

Now coming to the other side…having a foresight for anticipating issues.

Here you need to have a very alert mind. Like in today’s digital world, all types of alarms are built in your gadget warning you on impeding failure. One needs to be alert to all types of signals coming from the market or his environment to foresee trouble.

Take corrective decisions fast to nip any forthcoming problem. I have seen people in such cases tend to ignore such signals and wish the problem will go away. Well life isn’t that simple. To avoid taking little trouble we are inviting a whole load of problems. Am sure all of you are aware what am trying to say.

Now, on foresight one can look at it on short term & long term basis. Short term you apply when something is burning and you want to resolve the issue immediately. Long term is probably a more strategic one which goes a long way in benefits.

In today’s competitive world we see more and more companies have very short term foresight as they want to see the results tomorrow not caring for its long terms impacts.  Management wants good & fast results all the time so you see decisions being taken sometime defying logic looking good for short but with no thought of its long term implication.

Sadly, this has become the order of the day as one has to prove its worth in his place of work and has no time for any long term strategies as they won’t fructify during his tenure probably.

Look at the classic example during World War 2

“The pearl harbour strike”.

Japan did not think long term here. Short term this can be rated as the best strategy for any battle, sailing 4000 kms from Japan to pearl harbour and taken the enemy by surprise destroying the port and the US ego.

Admiral Yamamoto who was to lead this fleet was dead against the strike on Pearl Harbour. But being Japanese he followed orders & did his job splendidly as one would expect.

But what did you do in the bargain. You woke up a sleeping giant

It was a horrendous mistake.  It unified the whole country to attack Japan & got US inside the war. It lead to the destruction of Japan.

So a decision played out very well on short term basis but its effect on long term destroyed the country

What’s past is prologue as said by W Shakespeare. Today all of us are the accumulation of our past experiences. How we channel those experiences and knowledge into foresight as we move forward is critical

 That’s enough for my first article , in next will share with  some thoughts on necessity of communication and what measures we need to take for getting it right.

Last but not the least, I want to extend my sincere thanks to Ms. Pranita Sadavarte, Ms. Ankita Vyas & Mr. Gautam A. for helping me in setting-up this blog .