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    « Engage BS* detector: "We want to consult with you on this..." | Main | Leaders Who Pivot »
    Tuesday
    Nov102015

    Leaders who look back : Hindsight, Retrospectives & Backcasting

    Some well regarded psychological advice for happiness is to avoid dwelling on your thoughts or living in the past; in the words of Dr Richard Carlson, it's best to Stop Thinking, Start Living. 
     
    But in a business and commercial sense, it can indeed be helpful to look back so we can make sense of what’s been going on. 


    Sensemaking
    That’s how us humans make sense of things and connect the dots; we look back. Hindsight; it’s 20-20 vision after all! 
     
    As little events occur through life, we often don't make connections between them as they’re occurring, but when you look back, you can see with hindsight that there is sense to be made. A BIG sense. It's known as 'sensemaking'. 
     
    You’ll often hear people exclaim ‘I KNEW that was gonna happen’ or ‘you could SEE what was going on from the get go’. 
     
    We pick up clues and cues and our minds do the figuring out and the connecting of facts and happenings to make a plausible, possible explanation. 

    In a world of constant change, being able to make sense quicker becomes a strong competitive advantage. 
     
    Back to the Future
    With 
    Back to the Future day happening recently it's a sweet reminder of past, present and future. This is when Marty McFly and Dr Emmet Brown in the film 'Back to Future Part II' went back in time and then forward to the future (which occurred in real time on October 21, 2015). We can apply a similar way of thinking in our own lives and businesses... even if we don’t quite have the time machine… yet. 
     
    Make Sense
    So yes, go back in time; look at what happened, and make sense of it. 
     
    In a while you’ll be able to make progress, then look back, make sense and learn again. 
     
    In agile software development, it’s known and adopted frequently as the Retrospective. This is where the team discusses what was successful, what could be improved and how to incorporate that into the future. In planning and strategy circles, an approach called backcasting is used. 
     
    Make Decisions
    Then you can go forward and because you know what you know, you can make decisions about the best steps forward for you and the team. 

    Make Progress
    While it’s easy, fun and distracting to look at bright shiny objects, cat videos and dogs in swimming pools, unless you’re learning and reflecting on what happened, you won’t make sense and you won't make progress.
     
    You’ll get a sad case of FOMO. You’ll miss out on picking up trends, joining dots and making sense… and you won’t be prepared for the VUCA  (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity) of now and the crazy future that continues to roll out up ahead. 
     
    Set your time machine mind to make sense regularly, so you can reflect, learn and get ready for the future. 
     

     

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