At worst, we should only be making educated guesses when making decisions about our future. “Educated” means we have gathered every inflection point that is practical, reflected on our experience, and have had discussions with mentors and the right team members. There are no absolutes in regards to if you do x, y will happen. However, if we use all the resources and brain power available to us, we can drastically effect the probability of a successful outcome.
The first step is to know our mission and what success looks like. Without this, who cares…. The next step is to track key metrics that will provide the data needed for historical review and trending purposes. The best run organizations are extremely self-aware because of consistently tracking the right metrics (which they add to as the organization changes/grows). They understand and expect at any given time there are things that are going well and things that are going poorly. There is always something to improve and the sooner we know it, the less likely it is to have a negative impact on the things that are performing well. If we are aware we can make the changes necessary to allow for continuous growth. If we fail to do this, we are just chasing the bad things when they finally slap us in the face and never have time to focus on making the great things greater.
Once the organization is consistently tracking and reviewing the most important metrics, there is a real ability to forecast the future and to plan for future growth, in an educated way. Every organization has Financial Statements, again…….who cares? The best lead organizations already know how their financials are going to look before they are produced.
The best led organizations celebrate their pipeline and their forecasts, because they are that far ahead of the data, decision-making, and planning.