I feel so fortunate to have made so many wonderful connections through social media (and continue to do so). Social media has allowed me to connect with people from all over the world and learn from them too. One connection that I made through Twitter is with Bruce Rosenstein. And it all started with the simple sharing of posts and quotes. Today I am thrilled to host a guest post from Bruce. As you prepare for 2016, Bruce offers a plan to create and implement a more focused approach to help you achieve your goals.
Many people treat the future as a low priority, simply because it hasn’t arrived, or that it seems like a nebulous concept. Yet you can start on a success plan right now, because the future is created in the present moment by your thoughts, plans, actions and decisions. That was a central insight of Peter Drucker, the “father of modern management,” who died ten years ago at 95. The plan I’ve outlined below is based on research for my books Create Your Future the Peter Drucker Way (2013) and Living in More Than One World: How Peter Drucker’s Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life (2009). I was fortunate to have interviewed Drucker a number of times, both for USA TODAY and for my books.
I’ve intentionally kept the plan simple and streamlined. You can implement it in conjunction with 2016 New Year’s Resolutions, but it’s not necessary. Either way, it can be a great strategy for organizing your future:
Develop a future-oriented mindset.
When you’re thinking in this way, you’re developing a unique approach to the future, by keeping it in mind as you go about your daily life and work. You’re flexible and open to possibilities, and consciously considering the future implications for everything you do. This is how Drucker lived his life, and it was part of the backbone of his success. For instance, in 2002, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honor.
Understand your present reality
A Drucker quote from 1974 illustrates this point: “The future requires decisions—now. It imposes risk—now. It requires action—now.” To do this effectively, it makes sense to understand where things stand currently, inside and outside the work place. Create (either on paper or digitally), what I call “Your Total Life List,” noting family, colleagues, friends, people in your professional networks, places of employment, professional affiliations and non-work activities. (For a longer, more detailed look at the list, see Living in More Than One World: How Peter Drucker’s Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life. Or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you a copy of the list.)
Begin a Creating the Future notebook
This can also be paper or digital. At first, keep it simple by noting your current attitudes toward the future. Sketch out some brief personal and professional goals. Observe how these change over time as you update your notebook. Keep track of future-oriented websites, articles, books and reports that you find online and elsewhere. Jot down relevant quotes about the future. Look for role models who navigate the future well, and include information about them and why you think they might be relevant to your own journey.
Remove and improve
Once you have a good handle on the people, organizations and activities that comprise your present reality; and with a stronger sense of your future plans and goals, you can decide where you’d like to focus more intently, first by removing what no longer makes sense, something Drucker referred to as systematic abandonment. He recommended combining that with kaizen, or steady, ongoing improvement. “Remove and improve” is an easier way of expressing and remembering this important but challenging concept.
Cultivate your individual success factors
Various factors went into Drucker’s remarkably generative career of 70-plus years, such as diversifying efforts and outputs (he published in a variety of publications, was a master teacher and consulted to businesses, nonprofits and government); developing a powerful personal brand (long after his death there is tremendous name recognition); maintaining a global outlook/worldview (he lectured worldwide and became an expert in Japanese art); remaining relevant (he was doing keynotes into his nineties); producing a consistently impressive body of work (he wrote more than 40 books, as well as numerous articles for Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal and others) and creating work that benefits others (he informally helped former students and was a mentor to many people).
Developing your success plan will inevitably help you find and learn from additional role models, whether or not they are alive, and whether or not you know or knew them personally. I’d love to hear about your progress and challenges as you use this plan to create your future. What kind of world do you want to live in, and how can you create it for yourself and others?
About Bruce Rosenstein
Bruce Rosenstein is a leading management writer and speaker. A former researcher and business writer for USA TODAY, he is managing editor of Leader to Leader and author of Create Your Future the Peter Drucker Way: Developing and Applying a Forward-Focused Mindset (McGraw-Hill) and Living in More Than One World: How Peter Drucker’s Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life (Berrett-Koehler). For more information, visit brucerosenstein.com.
You can dream it. You can plan it. You can try to make it happen. But you can never really prepare for the future unless you have a future-focused mindset. That is the underlying message behind the inspiring words and wisdom of Peter Drucker, the legendary “father of modern management.” Drucker believed that the future must be created–day by day, person by person–rather than be left to chance or fate. You can order your copy on Amazon.
Please also check out the following links:
Link for Peter Drucker:
Link for Bruce Rosenstein website:
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