Future Readiness Means Understanding the Dynamics Surrounding the Present

 As a Futurist many folks ask me how do we do it? Meaning they want a formula that allows them to operate as if they have a crystal ball. Well, it has often been said that future predictions is as much an art as a science. And I agree.
The first thing one has to do is have a little bit of history under their belts, committed to memory; both ancient and recent. Next one needs to know the present, especially in the sectors they wish to predict and any industries that will impede or assist upon them. So, let’s take a look at some recent news from February 15, 2009:

  • Chinese Investment Tours looking for Real Estate Foreclosures in US
  • Japan’s economy dives 3.5% in 2008 Q4 (worst quarter since 74′)
  • Last Week worst in 2009 for stock market
  • Piper Aircraft to cut 40% labor, already laid off 650 in Q4 2008
  • Chavez won eliminating term-limits for himself – can run indefinitely
  • Global Warming alarmists emboldened by Obama – PR increases
  • GM trading at $2.50/share, BK imminent – soon
  • OPEC threatening a big cut; some nation can’t – OPEC temp. collapse?
  • Some Parents stealing kid’s identity to re-establish crashed credit
  • Cessna launching a positive PR campaign against naysayers
  • Panera Bread profits up
  • Pepsi got slaughters profits down 42%

Next, we need to regionalize our predictions to focus on worthwhile predictions that might serve you locally. Let’s say you live in Hawaii, what is in the news there; on the same date, here is the major news:
Hawaii foreclosure rate up 174% in January

Entrepreneurs sell Tours & Maps of Obama’s former home in Hawaii
Hawaii to get $678 Million of Stimulus Package

  1. - 252M  Infrastructure, Science
  2. -127M  Highway Funding
  3. -257M  Education and Training
  4. -158M  Prevent Education Layoffs, Modernize Schools
  5. -30M Energy Improvements
  6. -125M Children and Poor
  7. -6M  Child Care Services low-income families
  8. -106M Food Stamps
  9. 13M Law Enforcement

If we look closely at the regional news and the national news, we can get a sense of the direction. Predicting the future 1-2 years out is fairly easy in nearly any industry. 3-5 years is a little tougher, but can be done if you fully study trends, cycles, disruptors and colliding sectors.

Please think on this.  

Negotiation Occurs All the Time

By now you’ve been more aware of the times when you are in a negotiation with someone, whether it be a customer, co-worker, vendor, or someone at home. You’ve no doubt had one or two outcomes that were very different than what was available to you before the win/win training. You also probably had many negotiations that didn’t result in win/wins, that went as they have in the past, or perhaps worse than usual as you tried new things. Remember, to be a successful win/win negotiator, you must:

A. Have the knowledge, which you now have and can reinforce and strengthen by review of the training materials in your manual and in the book, Getting to Yes.

B. Have the desire to be a great negotiator. This includes seeing yourself as a businessperson, providing leadership for others and not simply focusing on tasks alone.

C. You must practice. Each unsuccessful negotiation or failed attempt to create a spirit of collaboration can be used and learned from. Rather than take the position that what you are doing doesn’t work or some other defeatist attitude, look at what you learned from your success and failures, what you could have done to have a different outcome, and begin experimenting and trying different things. Negotiations, like many skills, require practice daily. Let’s review:

Separate the people from the issues. You must be soft on the people but tough on the issues. This means also creating a spirit of collaboration and not saying things that could be taken as offensive. For example: I feel pressure rather than you are pressuring me. Set the tone of collaboration early on in the discussion!

Uncover interests. Positions are solutions. Interest are the needs behind those solutions, not only being aware of your interest but also asking questions to uncover the other party’s interests.

Creating options. When working with customers, you may need to create some commitment. For example, “We certainly want to see, Mrs. Jones, that whatever we do meets with your needs and requirements. Here are a few options of ways we may go about doing that…” Do not try to rush this part of the process. Often times you can create solutions that are better than either party would have dreamt of.

BATNA. Remember to have a backup, an alternative to negotiated settlement. This is not your bottom line in negotiation, rather it is what you can do without the other party if you cannot reach a negotiated agreement with them.

Use objective criteria or an objective process for reaching a decision. The classic example here is if your car is stolen, what should the insurance company pay you. Is it wholesale, retail, is it what’s remaining on the financing, is it what’s in the paper on Sunday on similar vehicles, etc. You will want to forward the objective criteria that helps persuade the other party and that creates a foundation of fairness for both parties.

Relationship. One of the truest tests of the successful win/win negotiation is that the parties will want to negotiate again. There may be some upsets along the way during the negotiation, but the primary results of the negotiation in terms of the value provided for each party, and the state of the relationship at that point, is what really counts.

Commitments. What are all the factors to be included in a negotiated agreement. Never make a negotiation about one issue because then it becomes a battle of wills. Rather than have inflexible criteria for the ending of the negotiation, this part of the process involves you in thinking about all the things that need to be considered for an agreement to be complete and to be followed through by each party successfully.

What Could You Buy Your Dad For A Present?

We all know that shopping for a present is not the easiest thing in the world. Plus you ought to take care and time into choosing the ideal present for some one like your dad. Why? Many people will ask. Quite simply because your dad is the person you go to if you’re a lad to ask for advice and regardless of being a girl or a boy your dad is the one who probably has the money and you will ask for your spending money off your dad because he’s more easy to get over than maybe your mother.

Your dad maybe also special to you if you are a girl because he’s going to be the one that takes you through the aisle on your wedding day and not your mother. Also your dad is the one that if you require any home improvements doing or the gardening your father is the one that will most likely be called out as he has the expertise and the knowledge with so many of the households jobs.

So that’s why you want to buy something that little bit extra for your father or dad many like to call them. What ideas do you have? The traditional and old gift that people use to buy their dads were buying them a pair of socks or a tie. But these are just a bit too plain and boring if I may say so. I know if I was ever given a pair of socks or a tie from my children I’m not going to be over the moon. It’s just going to make me say in my mind “Oh another pair of socks to go with my other 100′s of collections”.

You want to buy them something that will make them smile, laugh and something that will make them want to take it everywhere they go and to show it off to their friends. That’s the best feeling a dad can ever have, is have something to show off to their mates at work or at the local social club to show what their children has brought them or maybe have crafted out something for them.

The very gift I can safely say is always a win-win all round is buying them t shirts and hooded tops. Why both you may be asking? Well I wouldn’t want to be wearing t shirts in the middle of winter or a hooded top in the middle of summer.

You may now thinking what slogans can I get printed for my dad that won’t be rude or offensive? The best slogan I would recommend for any dad is “If Found Please Return To The Pub” or if you really love your dad buy him a “My Kids Went On Holiday And All I got Was This Lousy T Shirts”. These sorts of t shirts always gets them laughing and will get them grabbing attention for when they are down the pub or at work.