Significant events have a way of locking in memories. Although I was too young to experience it directly, a quick Google of ‘where were you when Kennedy died?’ demonstrates the point. Fast forward to an event I was old enough to be impacted by – 9/11 – and the same ‘where were you when’ phenomenon is in evidence.
Significant events lodge themselves firmly in our psyches, but don’t have to be traumatic to stick, just memorable. 2012 is already firmly lodged in the collective psyche, courtesy of the Mayan calendar, which (according to some interpretations) ends on Dec 21st of this year.
Telling the truth in advance
‘Where were you in 2012?’ is The Kennedy Question for this decade. What will your answer be? Unlike 1963 or 9/11, you have a distinct advantage – advance notice. Which means you get to create, to a greater or lesser extent, an energizing future memory.
So how do you create a future memory? By playing a leadership game called ‘telling the truth in advance’.
Telling the truth in advance is a prediction game that’s that involves asking and answering two questions. The point of the questions is to help you craft your answer so that you can settle on a detailed picture of what will exist by the end of the period in question. This exercise is as useful for a company as it is for an individual taking a look at their career or love life.
Question #1: What is it in your world that is ready to fall away? What has already crumbled and needs to be upgrade or replaced? What is clearly no longer fit for purpose, and in need of a helping hand? Getting clear on what needs to be released is the first step. Leadership is the art of creating – from scratch – that which does not yet exist. But first you need to prepare the ground by bulldozing or rearranging what already exists to make space for what is to come.
Question #2: What are you ready to positively create? What do you strongly desire to be in place by the end of this year? (Warning: don’t be reasonable.) And why? Why is this so important to you?
The point of the questions is to outline a strategic ‘theme’ that results in specific and effective action to catapult you forward in the right direction. Starting with #2 first, and answering in one or two-word answers, can give you the momentum you need to flesh out an entire strategy. By way of example, when I asked myself The Kennedy Question for 2012, the headline answer that popped out was ‘alive and connected’. This begged the question: where in my life did I feel particularly un-alive and disconnected? The launch of this blog is just one of many specific actions I am taking to ensure I feel significantly more alive and connected by the time the world ends.
‘Where were you in 2012?’ Tell the truth in advance and feel free to share your answer. Declaring your breakthroughs to others ahead of time is statistically proven to increase the likelihood of them happening.