When it comes to business planning, it’s easy to fall into the habit of taking what you have today and improving, iterating it forward into the future. But if you don’t take just a moment to think about the long plan, you’ll never get anywhere new. In fact, creating a compelling vision for the future can and should have significant impacts to the work you do and the decisions you make today. Here’s a left-brained and a right-brained example to bring this concept to life. LEFT BRAIN EXAMPLE - Dreaming of the Future is practical and helps you gain efficiencies. A progressive multinational company did an Innovation project with us. Rather than work to take their existing products and figure out the “next generation” of them, we took the long view and skipped a step. In fact, we created ideas for not what next year looks like, but what products would be offered 5-10 years out (a very very long view in their fast-paced industry.) By having that longer-term focus, 3 things happened. They created a number of patentable, meaningfully unique ideas for NOW They realized that once they broke those big ideas down into their components and Death Threats, they could actually deliver 80% of it within 2 years, rather than 5 or 10. They realized that if they wanted to really deliver the long-term ideas, there were things they could adapt in their current projects that set them up for the bigger ones. RIGHT BRAIN EXAMPLE - Dreaming of the Future lets you look back without remorse story after story of the businesses they built - him the entrepreneur and his wife his personal CFO. They created proprietary technologies, used them to make things and then caught the eye of the major player in the industry. He sold at least 5 businesses that way. It was clear he loved it. His wife would often look at him lovingly as she recounted when he’d run with a new idea or get them into another businesses. At one point I said something like, “Wow, with a work life behind you like that it sounds like there aren’t room for any regrets. Are there any things you didn’t do?” The man responded, “Well no, there is one. And it’s a really big one that I carry with me today.” Turns out his final business was his biggest and it still operates today. He retired 10 or so years ago and left the business to his sons. “I regret that I never taught them how to lead the business. While I was there, I had them manage the business and get things done, but I still did all the thinking about the future and where we were headed. I never showed them how to do that. I never taught them to look into the future. I’m sad that the business - and more importantly, my sons - are at a loss without a vision of what to do next and how to create one. If I’d thought about it first and created a vision, I would have seen that. I would have taken my last 5 years in the business to let them lead with my guidance. Now the business is a shadow of what it could be and I’m an old man without the energy or ability to change it.” As a management coach and leadership - it’s worth taking even a little time to think way out. For some businesses that’s 2 years. For others it’s 15. Whatever it is in your industry, spend a little time to do a deep dive on what your business is and does then. A short CREATE session could get you started. Because painting that clear vision today can help you and all your employees make the right decisions today to help you get to there - maybe even a bit faster than you expect.