The Power of Foresight in Leadership

By • on October 22, 2011

“A leader’s goal is not to see but to envision.”

One of the most famous stories to this day of foresight is the example of General Electric under Jack Welch’s leadership. GE made a critical strategic decision; it would either be first or second in every market it entered, or it would abandon that market altogether. This approach constituted a wrenching change for GE as many longtime GE divisions and components were let go. But Welch held to his vision, recognizing the changing marketplace, being number three or number four would never be profitable. As a result, GE today represents the gold standard for American corporations, and Jack Welch is still revered as a business genius and a true rhino leader.

Like Mr. Welch, the rhino leader takes no prisoners, ignores the doomsayers and creates products unique enough and attractive enough to turn them from “what’s that?” to “must have.” A rhino leader tramples obstacles in his wake that suggests defeat, which provides a foundation necessary to achieve victory on his own terms.

The rhino always stays on message and is never troubled or daunted by changing circumstances. If you’re ready to apply the technique of rhino foresight here are three ways to do that today:

Step 1: Cultivate the environment in which foresight can thrive – as leaders we must commit ourselves to knowing the information that affects our future. We must stay current in our fields of expertise by reading the latest books, current biographies and historical perspectives. We need to attend trade shows and seminars and join professional organizations.

Step 2: Correlate events the past with those of the present – Correlating both past and present is an incredibly empowering tool that helps leaders understand the seeds of your individual successes and failures. Study the law of cause and effect in your day-to-day activities. Every meeting, telephone call, e-mail argument, and smile is an action that leads to another action. Be certain your actions are firmly future-focused and amenable to your path toward success.

Step 3: Anticipate the future – Foresight must always be proactive. Foresight requires conscious effort to anticipate and direct with what the future will look like. Today’s leader must create a “necessity mind-set” without any prompting from the marketplace.


By Mads Singers on February 17th, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Great post, I think it’s the CEO decision to set the business strategy, the leaders job is to ensure the people are developed and ready to handle change daily.

Kind Regards