Monday, October 12, 2009

Personal Futures: Gateway to a long term perspective.

If you work in nearly any medium or larger size organization, you have probably been exposed to Strategic Planning, and maybe even Scenario Development. Unfortunately, as you may well be aware, exposure is not the equivalent of in-depth understanding.

Personal Futures offers an opportunity to learn and use a number of methods, tools and techniques practiced effectively by futurists and long term strategic planners. The critical element is scale. Personal Futures teaches futures methods on the scale of an individual life, a scale that anyone can learn, understand and use effectively. You can try this at home!

Once learned, the knowledge of these methods and how they work is scalable to any size operation. This is not to suggest that individuals who read a book or attend a workshop are qualified to lead a corporate strategic planning team, but they should be much better prepared to converse, understand and participate in the process at any level. That understanding is valuable, anywhere in an organization, to the development and implementation of a strategic plan.

Beyond scenarios, strategies and plans, Personal Futures teaches individuals the concepts of long term thinking or long term perspective. Kouzes and Posner state that their research found that long term perspective was second only to honesty in traits critical to leadership.

That raises the question, “How does one learn long term perspective?” As a researcher and writer about Personal Futures, I may have a bias, but how else? Personal Futures.

Some people seem to be born with that skill, the ability to think and understand how things may work out in the years ahead. Most of us aren’t.

About a year and a half ago, Jeff Gold (of Leeds Metropolitan University) and I presented a paper on Personal Futures and how those concepts relate to individual career paths to members of AHRD. We were surprised when several participants came to us and suggested that Personal Futures was a tool they could use in Executive Learning. Leadership. Long term perspective.

If a long term perspective might be valuable to you, take a look at the Personal Futures Workbook at It’s on the “Downloads” page and is FREE. No strings attached.