The Art of Strengths Coaching

F is for Foresight

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People are told that: “Hindsight is a wonderful thing.” Many of us can look back on things we wish we had known about beforehand.

People can also do their best to use foresight, however, in order to anticipate possible scenarios. Good decision makers take this approach when exploring all potential ways forward. They choose:

To focus on a particular field of activity and gather the facts.

To find patterns – both the successful and unsuccessful patterns – and extrapolate these to anticipate potential future scenarios.

To demonstrate foresight by making good decisions – based on exploring all the possible choices and consequences – and implementing these to achieve future success.

Good decision makers choose to use wilful intelligence, rather than wilful ignorance. They recognise it is impossible to anticipate everything. There are many consequences, however, that it is possible to anticipate when making decisions.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. Looking back on your own life, this invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific situation in the past when you used foresight successfully. This could have been in your personal or professional life.

Describe the specific things you did then to use foresight successfully.  

Describe the specific things that happened as a result of using foresight successfully.

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People may demonstrate foresight in some areas of their lives but not in others. They may be good at anticipating scenarios, for example, in particular aspects of the professional lives.

Al Siebert described how peak performers demonstrate personal radar. Writing in The Survivor Personality, he said that such people quickly see patterns in the activities in which they excel. They extrapolate these patterns and seem to know what will happen before it happens.

Arie de Geus, author of The Living Company, is an expert on scenario planning. He found that peak performers constantly play scenarios in the activities they find fascinating.

Such workers develop what he called a memory of the future. Looking ahead, they take the following steps.

They explore both the positive scenarios and the challenging scenarios.

They explore how to create and capitalise on the positive scenarios. They also explore how to prevent or, if necessary, manage the challenging scenarios. 

They explore the best ways forwards for improving the chances of creating future success.

Such workers find this homework helps them as events unfold. They may have anticipated the actual scenario and are able to implement their chosen strategy.

Even if the unexpected happens, they will have rehearsed strategies for dealing with many scenarios. They can build on aspects of the strategies that may work in the situation, whilst also adding other elements. This gives them an advantage over others who may not have rehearsed properly.

Different people develop good foresight in different activities. A person may have this ability in the activities in which they quickly see patterns.

Where does this happen for you? You may have foresight when mentoring, acting as a trusted advisor, playing sports, fixing technical problems, tackling certain challenges or doing other activities.

People often demonstrate foresight in several activities. Some choose to develop their knowledge in one area and capitalise on it as part of their profession.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific activities in which you have the ability to see patterns and translate this into foresight. 

Describe the specific things you can do to build on some of these activities in which you demonstrate this ability.

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As mentioned earlier, hindsight is a wonderful thing. But sometimes it is possible to make good decisions by using foresight.

Looking to the future, can you think of a situation where you may want to use this ability? This could be in your personal or professional life.

You may want to care for your health, shape your career, lead a business, manage your finances, anticipate changes in society or deal with other challenges. How can you use foresight to, as far as possible, anticipate and manage the situation successfully?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific situation in the future when you may aim to use foresight successfully.

Describe the specific things you can to use foresight successfully.

Describe the specific things that may happen as a result of using foresight successfully.

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