One of my favorite activities for participants during strategy workshops is that of “Future History.” I have adapted a classic model into a blend of strategy and tactics to provide numerous clarifications and guidance for those individuals or companies wanting to elevate their game or change their current business direction.
The object of this activity is shape the future by defining a news report headline of an achievement that would create a media company to interview you or your organization. It sounds simple, but its not as easy as it sounds.
Want to give it a try?
It begins with step 1, the creation of the news-worthy headline that speaks to a major achievement or event as a headline. This is a narrative type strategy statement. Keep it in mind you want it of few words and eye-catching. Once you have the headline, write it into the space provided below the top arrow arch. Once you have it recorded, then determine how long this would take to occur and record that below the headline.
Step 2, starting identify a key milestone event or action that would occur that would allow the event in the headline to happen. What would have provided the future history event to be possible? Example: If the headline was read “Writer sells 3 Million Copies”, than identify a milestone that would occur just before that headline, such as, “signing an exclusive publishing deal.”
Step 3, like step 2, identify another milestone that would occur prior to step 2’s milestone that would allow step 2’s milestone to happen. Continue this same process for step 4 again.
After having all the milestones identified in sequence leading upto the headline, its time to identify some tactics that would lead to the headline. In step 5, identify the three key obstacles that would need to be overcome to achieve the first milestone. To make it more challenging, avoid listing money, funding or cash flow as an obstacle. Dig deeper to uncover these obstacles.
Now, continue identifying each set of obstacles that would exist between each milestone as they progress. Step 6 would identify new obstacles for achieving milestone at step 3 and step 7 would identify obstacles for step 2.
Finally, at step 8 identify the final set of obstacles in achieving your “Future History” headline. Take a moment when you have finished each milestone and each set of obstacles. Do they make sense? Are they in the right sequence to achieve the headline? If not, rework the steps until it feels right and the tactics support the final strategy defined by the headline.
As I said in the beginning, this is one of my favorite activities as it defines an end strategy through the narrative headline. It establishes the timeframe that the goal will occur. It also helps illustrate the need for milestones as small steps along the path. And finally, it helps identify individual key obstacles along the way that need to be overcome to achieve the final goal.
If you like activities like this and want to share with others or provide feedback of your activity results, please email me so to help improve the process.
Thank you and I hope your “Future History” come true.