Foresight, the ability to predict future outcomes or needs, is the talent that most determines the success of any task, project or career. Like every talent, it comes in multiple forms and at various degrees. Some excel at it and reap rewards only accessible to those who can connect unseen dots and tap new resources. Others go from one day to the next with little consideration for the future. The majority of us fall somewhere in the middle: we take advantage of opportunities when we are comfortable with them.
There exists no formula to master foresight. The best course is to understand your own motivation and leverage it to your advantage. This motivation can be divided into four camps: a search for opportunity, a search for simplification, a search to avoid problems, and a search for knowledge.
Are you driven by opportunity?
Some business managers are in a constant search for the next big thing. In self storage, this equates to new locations, slick marketing efforts and the latest products or features. These opportunity seekers are the cornerstones upon which the self storage industry relies (It’s not dumb luck that lands a new facility among booming populations). If you are opportunity-driven, try to creatively inject your passion into marketing. It’s a terrific outlet for new ideas.
Are you driven to simplify?
Simplifiers make up the reasonable and organized segment of society. These forward thinkers were the first to embrace the personal computer in the 1980’s and are now sure to invest in the latest management software. If this defines you, watch your bottom line and run numbers. See how much your foresight will cost you up front and how long it will take to see long-term cost savings.
Are you motivated to avoid problems?
Some foresight that began as a problem avoiding tactic has become standard practice: insurance for disaster relief, security systems for protection, contracts to settle disputes. But advanced problem avoiders have moved beyond the basics to incorporate issues involving cash flow and general maintenance. DBCI’s new Curl-Lok doors are a good example of a product that accomplishes both. The sheet door reduces both down time and replacement cost – a dream come true for the problem avoider. When motivated by this type of foresight, challenge yourself to address multiple problems at once.
Do you seek knowledge?
In The Tipping Point, author Malcolm Gladwell calls these knowledge seeking individuals mavens. They are simply interested in absorbing as much information as they can about a particular topic. Self storage mavens spend hours on blogs, they know every trend, and read all the industry publications. And they can’t help talking about it with others. Mavens are best served if they can find other mavens with whom to share ideas and information.
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