Thinking Long-Term is probably the last think you want to do right now.

But it’s critical.

Join us for a discussion with strategic planning expert Lori Silverman as we discuss why you need to think long-term NOW even if you are dealing with today’s emergencies.

A machine transcript of the show:

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The Our Shawn: Hey everyone, are Sean McBride. Today I’ve got Lori Silverman joining me today. She has a fantastic perspective on planning. We just had a great pre conversation. A couple days ago and we kind of wanted to be talking about what

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The Our Shawn: We as business owners need to be thinking about despite the factors, all this craziness going on right does a lot of us feel like our plans went out the window, whatever we thought was going to happen in 2020 probably isn’t happening for whatever reason.

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The Our Shawn: But at some point, we need to stop and figure out where we’re headed. And it’s

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The Our Shawn: So there’s a lot of confusion right now pay well payroll protection loans, going on a lot of intermediate steps and massive disruption to operations.

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The Our Shawn: We also need to think about the future and Lori has some great ideas and great tips.

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The Our Shawn: That will help us start getting into that frame of mind. So Lori. Why don’t we stop. Let’s stop for a second for those people that don’t know you as well. Tell us a little bit about your background, what you’ve been doing. And then we’ll jump into some practical questions for business owners.

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Lori Silverman: Sure. So let me talk about my background related to the topic that we’re going to talk about today was which is actually more around the topic of strategic thinking

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Lori Silverman: So currently, I teach the only course in the world.

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Lori Silverman: Through an industrial and organizational psyche master’s program on strategic thinking. In fact, my students are just finishing up the term I told them that they’ve been part of a real life petri dish.

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Lori Silverman: The last few weeks, it’s been phenomenal to be teaching concepts and ideas at the same time that they’re able to experience them and apply them to what’s going on in the world. I’ve been a strategist.

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Lori Silverman: Since I was 13 years old. So I’ve had the opportunity to work across 25 different industries with lots of fascinating companies as large as you know, the fortune 10 to a small as you know one person. I’m really thinking about or anticipating what the future holds for us.

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The Our Shawn: Yeah. And what I love about your work and, you know, for having following you interact with you a lot online.

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The Our Shawn: Yeah, you’re, you’re in the urine than though you’re paying attention to what’s going on.

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The Our Shawn: Your current with the advantage of course got a long history of doing this, you’re doing this with your clients are also paying attention to what all the other

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The Our Shawn: People in the field are doing so, you know, I kind of think of you as the go to resource. When I think about strategic thinking and how do we incorporate that into a plan.

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The Our Shawn: I think a lot of people right now are just in this state of upheaval and confusion. Right. And it’s, it’s hard to think strategically when you’re trying to think about the next month. Right. And then if there’s a lot of business owners in the category of, you know,

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The Our Shawn: You know my restaurant shut down. You know my customers dried up. I still gotta pay rent. I mean, there’s 100 things going on.

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The Our Shawn: And it’s going to take a little while to process that. But it’s like you and I were talking about at some point we do then need to go back to thinking strategically.

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The Our Shawn: At some point, so. So let’s, I guess. Let’s talk about the why first and then maybe we’ll try to think a little bit about the house. So why is it so important that we kind of break out of this current moment and start to look down range again a little bit

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Lori Silverman: Sure. Um, well, let’s first talk about I think a couple scenarios first would be if I were to find you at an accident scene and you were to be hemorrhaging blood from your leg.

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Lori Silverman: My first job is to put a tourniquet on you right stop the blood flow. So I’m not going to be thinking strategically a strategic question would be, Hey, what do you want your career to be you know 10 years down the road. That’s probably not going to happen.

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Lori Silverman: Until I at least get you stabilized. And I think that that’s what you’ve so aptly described upfront here is that

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Lori Silverman: Leaders first need to stabilize their businesses, whatever that might mean for them. That could be financially that could be in terms of their people right now that’s their technology.

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Lori Silverman: They need to be thinking about. If they’re open still what their supply chain is and what the disruptions are to the supply chain, and so on.

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Lori Silverman: But then there’s another piece and I’m reminded of a situation that happened over a period of a couple of years about 15 years ago.

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Lori Silverman: I was working with the American College of Veterinary pathologist. They had called me up to create a strategic plan for them. And they said, what we only want to look out three years, Lori.

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Lori Silverman: And I said, I’m sorry, I don’t do plans that only look out three years. That’s not far enough. And they said, we don’t understand why, why should we look further

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Lori Silverman: And I said, there’s a couple of reasons. First of all, you can never predict the future, but you can anticipate it and you can anticipate all the possibilities within the realm of what your frame is

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Lori Silverman: That might happen to your business. But I said, second when you have a very short term view.

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Lori Silverman: You’re not using what’s called foresight skills you’re using forecasting and forecasting is extrapolating from the past or the present to the future.

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Lori Silverman: And what we know right now is almost everything we’ve learned about the past may not be true going forward. So if I were to extrapolate

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Lori Silverman: I’d be a stretch extrapolating on a set of assumptions that probably aren’t going to be as valid going forward. Although I do believe in a both ends world that whatever happens, it’s going to be some sort of combination of things.

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Lori Silverman: And so to me it’s. Do you want to anticipate. But what happened with the vet paths that was so interesting is we made a deal and the deal was that if I did their three year plan with them.

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Lori Silverman: And they accomplished it sooner than they thought they would, which is what I figured. What happened that they’d come back and they would do what i was encouraging them to do, which is the spore site work strategic thinking work.

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Lori Silverman: And when they did that, they identified. Now, this is probably around 2005 by this time.

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Lori Silverman: They identified a pandemic almost identical to what we’re experiencing today.

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Lori Silverman: And the challenge that they had was, how do we help the rest of the world to anticipate this and that’s what I think you really want as a business owner, don’t you, I mean,

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Lori Silverman: I do. I’m thinking that you do too, and others might who are listening in, is the ability to know and then track signals that tell us whether or not certain sorts of things are going to be happening in the environment and then make adjustments accordingly. Yeah.

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The Our Shawn: I mean, I think, you know, if you’re doing it correctly, you want to, you know, as Wayne Gretzky says escape to the puck. You want to be where things are going to be in the future. Right. And that should be a goal of all of us.

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The Our Shawn: Like you say, we got to stop the bleeding but as the bleeding stops and then we’re on the path of short term stability.

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The Our Shawn: Now’s a great time, as I think you and I were talking the other day to start thinking about

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The Our Shawn: Where do you want it. Where is the market going to be right if it’s probably not going back exactly to where it was right. So we’re going to somewhere different. Which is why

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The Our Shawn: It’s a very unusual time. You can’t just say, hey, we’re going to go back to where it was a year ago. We’re not back to where it was two years ago, we’re

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The Our Shawn: We’re kind of skipping a step probably right. But a lot of us seem to think this code at 19 is going to cause, at least in some industries us to come back in a disjointed faction. We’re not going to be six months from now, we’re not going to be where we were six months ago.

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Lori Silverman: I think if I might, interrupt you there was a bit of a controversy actually around that and there are some folks that are sensing that we will, and there’s a wonderful article and medium on this that will be gaslight

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Lori Silverman: And what that means is that will be duped into thinking that what we just experienced was crazy that it was an anomaly. It isn’t going to happen again. Everything’s back to normal and just go back to normal. Yeah. And so there’s going to be a huge push

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Lori Silverman: Potentially by major industry and governments.

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Lori Silverman: To want us to feel that to think that because that will make a say, Okay, we’re fine. We don’t need to do anything different. But then there’s the reality. And that’s what you’re speaking to is the reality.

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Lori Silverman: And the reality is, we’ve got three phases. We’ve got the now phase which is this crisis and how do I overcome. You know, the shocks that are happening here and help my people deal with it or my family.

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Lori Silverman: And all the families and my employees. The second is what I call the next step, and we should already be starting to think about that, but where you and I are talking is about the step after next because if I can start to understand what’s happening out here and extrapolate back to today.

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Lori Silverman: Then I can say

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Lori Silverman: What implications does this have for here. Now, the challenges that when remember the.com boom. Remember that years ago.

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The Our Shawn: Number. Well, I had big plans of the.com boom.

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Lori Silverman: the.com boom and try to persuade business leaders that the sort of thinking that you and I are talking about is not important.

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Lori Silverman: And there are still some people who believe that they’ll come up to me and they’ll say, nope. We can’t do that because you can’t you can’t see the future Lori and I’m like, Yes, that’s correct. You might not be able to predict, as I just said predict the future, but you should be able

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Lori Silverman: To anticipate the sorts of things that are going to happen to your business.

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Lori Silverman: In the future by looking and standing in the future.

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The Our Shawn: Yeah, you know, and I think that’s right and

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The Our Shawn: You saw some of it, the markets, just different rights you you know the future is now a different place, probably because there’s new mix of information.

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The Our Shawn: You talked about the article where people said, just go back to the way it was. Well, you know, and I think there is no be a push for that. I agree. I see that

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The Our Shawn: But you know, I was talking to a guy earlier today did an interview here on the future done right channel, and we were talking about

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The Our Shawn: The fact that you know a lot of people are going to have buried in their head this cash flow disruption.

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The Our Shawn: The fact the financial markets seized up yet again. This one seems to be in ways even more drastic than the recessions right the recession’s we connect or in taper out. This was a boom you know as

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The Our Shawn: We see the charts of the economic activity change. I think a lot of us are going to be shocked right on how how much the economy changed and how quickly.

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The Our Shawn: Switch just different. Right. So coming out of this. I think a lot of people are going to have this memory and they’re planning right they’re gonna, you know, our consumers.

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The Our Shawn: That people were interfacing with or everybody’s going to kind of have this buried somewhere that this could happen again or so.

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Lori Silverman: They may they may not. I was just myself I was listening to a recording of a webinar that was done recently by a group of consultants who do very similar work to what I’m doing and the consensus of that group is and they’re fearful of this and so am I, that that inertia in organizations.

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Lori Silverman: Is always strong and it’s not strong because of people resisting it strong because the systems are set up to prevent

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Lori Silverman: Change from happening, they’re set up to make the status quo repeat itself over and over and over again. And the amount of work that it takes to change those systems to change those processes.

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Lori Silverman: Is for some people, appears to be insurmountable. But what we’ve just proven to ourselves is, we can do it with just proven it right

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Lori Silverman: In the past six weeks when people say, hey, you need to stay at home and you need to figure out how to work from home and you need to figure out how to educate from home, not just

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Lori Silverman: Those in higher education, but those in, you know, who are younger in age and we’re going to figure this out together. You’re going to have to figure out how to get your groceries, a different way and other sorts of items that you might need everybody did it.

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Lori Silverman: So we have we have shown that we can figure out how to transform and the cool thing about it is that we tend to be

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Lori Silverman: A society in which huge wake up calls have to happen before we’re willing to transform. So the question is going to be our business leaders, even in companies have one willing to take

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Lori Silverman: A pause and reflection. Pause And this right now is the perfect time to do it. So for those of you listening. I encourage you to be doing this work now.

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Lori Silverman: TO SAY, STAND IN THE FUTURE LOOK OUT AT THE YEAR 2013 my clients are looking at the year 2014

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Lori Silverman: And they have a really good handle on what that future looks like and what all the possible futures, the probable futures look like

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Lori Silverman: And then they’re kind of looking back at today and they’re saying this is just a blip, but we predicted. We saw out here, you know, are we anticipated that there was going to be a pandemic. Now, we might not have had

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Lori Silverman: Our plans in place, you know, our business continuity plans in place for this, but we darn well will in the future. But we had some other plans in place.

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Lori Silverman: And I think we, this is what we have to do and I shared with you. I think when we talk. The best example of this. I think our military organizations.

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Lori Silverman: I know military organizations.

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Lori Silverman: Are able to flex in a moment’s notice. You tell them it’s wartime their people can flex their troops can flex you tell them it’s peacetime

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Lori Silverman: Their troops can flex you tell them they have to do a humanitarian mission as many of them are doing today, their troops can flex immediately because the plans are in place to act in a variety of different scenarios and to do so in a way that’s positive and fast and productive.

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Lori Silverman: And I think that that’s what businesses are missing today.

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The Our Shawn: Yeah.

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The Our Shawn: I think there’s a fantastic lesson there. And I think as you draw that parallel, you know, one thing that pops, to my mind, is

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The Our Shawn: You know, we watched the military and what they do and what will they do, they’ll create this elaborate problem, you know, as part of a situation. And then they’ll

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The Our Shawn: Then they’ll create a solution and then they’ll reenact the whole thing right so they spend a lot of time on working through thinking and then reenacting it right so they’ve got massive plans. They’ve got plans that they’ve drilled. Right. I mean, right.

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The Our Shawn: Every once every once in a while here and

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The Our Shawn: You know, I’ll feel vibrations for days and they’re over there. They’re Bombing down the way. I mean, they’re actually dropping bombs, because

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The Our Shawn: Practicing take the plane out

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The Our Shawn: hit the target drop the bomb land the plane right

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The Our Shawn: I mean, yeah, so it’s

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The Our Shawn: I don’t think in our corporate situation. We don’t drill like that very often right it’s unusual for us to say, hey,

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The Our Shawn: Let’s build a scenario, what do we do if there’s a pandemic, there’s a fire if there’s a flood. If there’s a hurricane, we, we have a plans and vague ideas, but we rarely go through the whole process of planning a soup to nuts. Well,

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Lori Silverman: And you know what’s interesting is what I spent a number of years early in my career working in healthcare, and we did do that.

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Lori Silverman: Right, we would have these crisis simulations that we would run because we had to in order to maintain our accreditation.

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Lori Silverman: But even today. I think what healthcare organizations are realizing is those weren’t extreme enough

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Lori Silverman: Right, I mean that they darn good thing that they’ve been doing them all these years. But to your point, you know, other organizations and other industries.

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Lori Silverman: Unless they have been thinking this way for some time haven’t put these sorts of preparedness plans in place, but I don’t want to say their preparedness for a crisis.

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Lori Silverman: I want us to start thinking about preparedness for the variety of scenarios that our business could be in

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Lori Silverman: And and because I think that that’s the difference. And that we stop thinking about so that it doesn’t appear to be a crisis, it’s just

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Lori Silverman: We have to switch to doing this today, everybody’s got to be home. So, you know, the example would be, there’s public health officials are

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Lori Silverman: Torn I think over whether the pandemic will return the summer because people are leaving shelter in place too soon.

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Lori Silverman: And then there are those who say, well, it’s going to return. Anyways, in the fall, November, December timeframe. So we already know we’ve got a couple of scenarios that we should be playing out but again just to extrapolate from today to tomorrow is not enough.

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Lori Silverman: You have to be standing in the future because at the same time, the future still going to

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Lori Silverman: Throw you other

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Lori Silverman: Opportunities other curveballs other threats other risks and you have to be prepared for those two

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Lori Silverman: So I think that’s what we’re speaking to my concern is that organizations are just going to sit in today say okay I pivoted I pivoted you know i pivoted I was a distillery and now I’m making hand sanitizer.

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The Our Shawn: A lot of data. Yeah.

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Lori Silverman: Right, or someone was telling me yesterday about bars in the UK that now all of a sudden become become like grocers because they have the wholesale distribution relationships and they say, hey, just give us your grocery order and we’ll deliver to your house.

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Lori Silverman: Or, you know, we have the example of the one newspaper delivery guy who’s doing that for all of the people on his route. He says he’s not going to stop. That’s all fine and dandy. That’s a pivot for now. Yeah.

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Lori Silverman: Or a pivot for that next step, but it’s not a pivot for the step after next. And I think that’s what you and I are talking about is

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Lori Silverman: You cannot forget that you really, you really are going to have to whether you have strategy in place right now or strategic plans in place. I think it’s still need to take this pause this timeout period.

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Lori Silverman: And start to say, what if, and what does that future look like and what will we have to add to this equation.

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The Our Shawn: Right, and I think that’s what we really want to focus on today is that future. And I think, you know, one of the push backs, you hear is, well, you know, I don’t know what the future is going to be, I don’t know, and so

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The Our Shawn: You know, take, let’s take the restaurant industry just because they’re one of the ones deepest affected and they’re close to many people.

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The Our Shawn: You know, we don’t know whether people are going to go back to restaurants like normal.

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The Our Shawn: We don’t know if people are going to go back to restaurants and expect to be farther apart from other people. We don’t know. People go to restaurants less frequently. I just heard a

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The Our Shawn: Restaurant consulting speaking earlier today. They’re saying, hey, maybe, maybe people, you know, in the past, went to the restaurant, five days a week, you know, stopped after work, picked up lunch, whatever.

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The Our Shawn: And now that their habits changing and being put in the stay at home. Oh, maybe now they’re going to go to the restaurant, two days a week.

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The Our Shawn: So you know that obviously changes massively what the restaurant industry looks like. And so, you know, I could see somebody in the restaurant industry just saying, you know, I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going to happen. So I give up.

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The Our Shawn: You know, what’s the answer for that Lori, what are you supposed to do you know if you’re in that situation.

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Lori Silverman: Well, first of all,

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Lori Silverman: My encouragement is that you need to thank both and and my disappointment and that consultants comment is, they’re only thinking about the now in the next step. Yeah.

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Lori Silverman: They’re, they’re not thinking far enough out. So there are, I mean, and I do this in workshops with people I do this with my clients.

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Lori Silverman: We can around a series of questions. Collect articles about the future. People have been writing about 2013 2014 and 2015 for a lot of years.

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Lori Silverman: And there are a number of different types of conjectures. The question I have for the business leader is do you or do you not want to take control if you don’t want to take control don’t read any of those articles.

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Lori Silverman: If you want to take control start learning about what other people are conjecturing about what the future is going to hold because there’s a lot of variables that are in place, number of people on the planet. What is the environment going to look like.

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Lori Silverman: What sorts of jobs are going to be in place. What is disposable income going to look like where are people going to be living in those years.

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Lori Silverman: And people that are futurists people like me who study that far out there, even people who look at the year 3000

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Lori Silverman: When you start to to understand those sorts of conjectures. And by the way, they’ll be all over the board. And that’s okay. When you can start to ask yourself is based on what we think are going to be the uncertainties in the future.

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Lori Silverman: Now the uncertainty before January 1 was will we, or will we not have a pandemic. Right. But I see futurist today, unfortunately, saying, oh,

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Lori Silverman: I’m whether or not we’re going to have a pandemic is an uncertainty and the financial, economic future isn’t uncertainty. They’re not uncertainties. We kind of know right now.

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Lori Silverman: We have to look farther out to say, what are the uncertainties that could happen that we think will happen in the future. What are the trends that we think will be unfolding. You know, for example, we know that

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Lori Silverman: The trend of experience people craving experiences.

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Lori Silverman: Is just starting to take off. But there are a lot of people who are saying, Oh, no, no, no, no, just still important. We’re still in the knowledge economy. No, no, folks, we are we are in the experience economy.

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Lori Silverman: And if that’s the case, and this is going to ramp up by the year 2030 then what you really have to be asking yourself is,

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Lori Silverman: How can my restaurant become an experience. Yeah. Or maybe something different. If I might give you an example. This is one from many years ago, I was blessed

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Lori Silverman: In 1992 go to Japan for many weeks. It was a gift from my employer for my work, I was on a steady mission with my clients to look at companies that were excelling in business.

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Lori Silverman: And one of the organization’s we went to was the spa Hawaiian resort and I remember this vividly.

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Lori Silverman: Because there are only about 20 of us on the trip we were seated on the floor on to Tommy, man. So we had this huge tray on top of our lap with all these beautiful delicacies

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Lori Silverman: That are hosted given us and bottles of Saki and the general manager of the facility was having a conversation with us and he said

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Lori Silverman: Before we were the spa Hawaiian resort. We were the job and coal mining company.

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Lori Silverman: And I looked to my left.

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Lori Silverman: At my colleague. Now, at this time, women weren’t really allowed to speak out and ask questions, but I looked to my woman colleague to my left and I said, Did I hear correctly, or was it the sacchi has gotten

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Lori Silverman: You know you. You’ve heard correctly. Right. And as I continued to listen what this general manager said was

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Lori Silverman: We knew several years ago that there was not enough coal in the ground for our children’s children to be employed. So we sat back and we said if we were to reflect

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Lori Silverman: On the strengths and the competencies that we have today. What is that telling us about the sort of business. We could become in the future.

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Lori Silverman: And they realized they had, they didn’t have mountainous land they had hilly land that every time they mind for coal, they would hit hot springs.

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Lori Silverman: And the employees with management said, Why can’t we create some sort of resort and someone said, well, let’s go one better. We know that 510 15 years in the future. People from Japan are going to want to spend more time in Hawaii. Why don’t we just bring Hawaii to Japan.

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Lori Silverman: Right, right. It was it was brilliant. And that’s I think what we’re trying to encourage today.

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Lori Silverman: What you are today.

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Lori Silverman: May not be what your future consumers need you to become

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The Our Shawn: Yes. And we companies do this right i mean you know IBM is your big example right

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Lori Silverman: Yeah.

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The Our Shawn: We use a mainframes to information consulting thought leadership knowledge economy right

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The Our Shawn: Of their products. And we’ve seen it. We’ve seen other cases to where people have more for business over time. And I think that’s, I think that’s a fantastic example you’ve given right because

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The Our Shawn: You know, what do you do to secure the future and just because you’ve always done something we see it like we see we see the opposite with newspapers right i mean

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The Our Shawn: Everybody’s moving online. And I know most newspapers now have an online portal, but a lot of are still clinging to a business that a lot of people are just not responding to it. Right. So at some point you have to say you have to face reality like Kodak being another example.

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Of misguided.

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The Our Shawn: People were coming to Kodak because they wanted to capture their memories and Kodak was convinced everybody wanted their film and they double down and triple down on the film. Right.

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Lori Silverman: Right.

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The Our Shawn: They didn’t see the broader value add right people wanted the experience. They wanted to have that memory locked in place that could have been done digitally, which is what everybody’s doing now.

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The Our Shawn: And Kodak Mr tremendous opportunity because if they had said that earlier. They said, hey, we’re in the. We’re in the business of capturing people’s memories.

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The Our Shawn: Right, rather than we’re in the business of making film, they will be a completely different company.

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The Our Shawn: Right, so

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Lori Silverman: Right, well I can guarantee you if they had done the sort of work that I’m talking about doing what you’re standing in the future.

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Lori Silverman: Trying to understand what people are saying about it, creating scenarios around it and looked back at today, they would have seen the possibility now it’s still, it’s still

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Lori Silverman: Could be that they would not have chosen that as a breakthrough.

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Lori Silverman: Yeah, right. They, they could have said no, you know, we see something else. And we want to morph into something different or the forces that be for that day could have said.

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Lori Silverman: No really, you know, we’re going to milk this cash cow till the end and some businesses choose to do that some entrepreneurs do right

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Lori Silverman: You know they milk it till the end they shut it down and then maybe they go do something else. This other idea that they have. I think what we’re saying is

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Lori Silverman: There’s this wonderful term that I teach my students and I did not invent it. Michael Tishman and his colleagues didn’t. It’s kind of a, you know,

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Lori Silverman: A mouthful. It’s called structural and by dexterity and what he says is, you have to both exploit. What you do today and explore the future. Simple as that. You cannot do one or the other. You must do both simultaneous and. And to me, that’s that. Now, next step, step after next

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Lori Silverman: Sort of mentality.

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Lori Silverman: But this has to be continuous in your business. Now you may not have the people to do this, you might not have the competitive intelligence functions in place you might your, your leadership team might be geared more to fighting fires and to crisis management normally

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The Our Shawn: In their

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Lori Silverman: Own business, right, because that’s just our industry happens to be like that. Or it could be that I’m a family owned business and I’m

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Lori Silverman: A sibling who’s working in the business and dad who really runs it says no, we’re not changing a doggone thing, you know.

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Lori Silverman: I’m dealing with this right now. I’m thinking about it, an organization who is really needs to be fully 100% online.

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Lori Silverman: But it has amazing brick and mortar buildings that are historical buildings and it just feels like it wants to keep these buildings and and the leader of the businesses said, over my dead body will we sell these buildings and I’m thinking, you might have to

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Lori Silverman: You might have

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Lori Silverman: This is not this may not be the future for your industry, you may need to be fully over here. And are you going to prevent that from happening.

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Lori Silverman: You know, and the reason I share that is it’s often often those who are the leaders of the business who are less likely to want to shift than the people who work within the business.

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The Our Shawn: Yes, I can see that possibility. Right. And you know, it’s

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The Our Shawn: It’s also a very interesting study of team dynamics, right, because

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The Our Shawn: We need to somehow get people engaged and so great leadership exercise, right, if you can get people engaged in that vision of the future.

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The Our Shawn: Then you can strategically lead the organization and new direction.

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The Our Shawn: But you have to have leadership that’s open to morphing and then you’ve got to have the team behind it. Right, it’s a it’s a by him that

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The Our Shawn: Especially when you’re talking about doing something strategic because like you say you’re in the now you’re making your money you’re doing what you’re doing right now and you’re looking to the future. You’ve kind of got to have that two sides juggled

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The Our Shawn: And you have to get everybody bought into doing that.

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Lori Silverman: Right. And so if I can share an example that I heard from to amber, but I want to take it a step further. So Dan baristas technology futurist

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Lori Silverman: And he was sharing recently that he’s done work in the convenience store industry and the leaders of

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Lori Silverman: This industry came to him recently and they said you know we we think we might have to shut down. We might have to lay off all our employees, we don’t you know where people aren’t going to come out, we might not be able to stay open.

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Lori Silverman: And he said to them, just off the top of his head. He said, Why aren’t you becoming necessity stores instead of convenience stores.

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Lori Silverman: And so they did. They have during this lockdown. They become necessity stores and they’ve stayed open and they are thriving. But I say that’s not sufficient. That was just the immediate pivot.

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Lori Silverman: I hope to goodness that the leaders in this industry are saying to themselves. What’s that long term going to look like because maybe you know what, maybe they should stay necessity stores.

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Lori Silverman: Now, on the other hand, let’s talk about an organization that already several years ago made that pivot to trying to be a necessity in your life, Walgreens.

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Lori Silverman: Or whatever it might be called in your part of the neighborhood, because it has to, you know, organizations named differently in New York, rather than here might be overseas.

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Lori Silverman: They already tried to become the necessity store. And so they were thinking somewhere. I assume I’m not working with them, but I’m assuming someone was looking at the future and saying, Hey, how do we set ourselves up

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Lori Silverman: Not for today.

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Lori Silverman: Because you know so often vision statements are what do we want to become well guess what folks, people don’t care what you want to become yeah

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Lori Silverman: It’s really all about what we as a consumer needs you to be in the future. What are we going to need and how are you going to provide that to us. Yeah.

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Lori Silverman: And and so if you can start to do that today. Then you buy yourself a runway. You buy yourself a testing and experimental runway.

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Lori Silverman: You buy yourself some time to say where are we going to get the cash to be able to do some of these things because they may be cash intensive

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Lori Silverman: You by yourself the time. Some of these breakthroughs that I’ve worked with my clients on don’t just take a year, two years, they take five years or 10 years to put into place right

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Lori Silverman: But because they’ve got this long runway, they can see it and they hold

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Lori Silverman: To their convictions on it but they change it to, you know, the things start to out here some different things start to perk. We call them perking signals. I start to see perking signals out here that say

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Lori Silverman: Maybe something else was going to kind of happen over here. They say, do we really, you know, is our is our strategy robust enough to deal with these kind of, you know, changes that are going on in the market itself.

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The Our Shawn: I think, I think a lot of its discipline. I think it was if I think is Walgreens. It may have been CBS, but I’ve seen both of them doing it now where

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The Our Shawn: They said hey look we studied it, we had stores in the middle of the block. And we found out that our sales went up tremendously. If we put say we push toward the end of the block.

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The Our Shawn: Had places where in the country where they had a store the middle of blocking a built one of the end of the block and they closed one of the middle of the block.

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The Our Shawn: Well that’s discipline, right, that is working prodigy, and that’s a company, it’s, you know, and the reason was, that’s where people were more likely to stop it was better service for your client.

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The Our Shawn: And that was kind of knowing what their customer need was and what the experience. They wanted people to have and pushing it all the way through your organization.

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Lori Silverman: Right, but let’s also talk about an experiment that happened, and let’s use Walgreens as the example so Walgreens was the first drugstore to embrace Thera nose and you know the the thinking that we could take a drop of blood and that we can tell you what you’re

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Lori Silverman: To do a variety of blood tests with that. And then all of it and they experimented they didn’t put a thorough know slab and every single store they put them in certain stores in certain parts of the country.

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Lori Silverman: And then what happened right there, and also as a company went from being the poster child on every single magazine to coming down and falling down.

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Lori Silverman: But that’s an example of one of those experiments, you know, Walgreens was at the forefront of that had that been true had that worked. They would have been poised to do unbelievable amounts of things. Even now, think about it.

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Lori Silverman: You know, in terms of the code 19 testing and other sorts of things that are out there.

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Lori Silverman: But instead they took a risk they put in some money. They realized very quickly when things started to come down that this wasn’t going to work. They backed out and then they tried something else and that’s but they had the time to do that.

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The Our Shawn: And that tells us something that ties in great with this next point that I want to drive home here is, you know, so

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The Our Shawn: You know, as you’re going through this right there. There’s a speed models. Right, so he’s you know so Walgreens, had you know they’re saying, Hey, let’s see if, let’s see if this testing will work. Right. And then, you know, Walgreens says let’s see if located on the corner will work.

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The Our Shawn: Right, you’re, you’re talking about the perks signals in here and there’s also a way to test for them.

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The Our Shawn: I think you know a lot of people there there excuse for not doing strategic thinking there excuse for not doing strategic planning for teak Lana time like this is

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The Our Shawn: You know, we read the articles about the future and everybody disagrees, you know, one says that everybody’s going to be a self driving cars and another article says that people still want to drive their cars.

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The Our Shawn: One says self driving cars will take care of all the traffic because the cars will drive and drop you off at work.

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The Our Shawn: Another article says it will have these massive self driving car traffic jams, because all the self driving cars will just be circling waiting for their owner to

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The Our Shawn: Get off of work. Right. And so I can see why a lot of people would be frustrated and say I give up. Right, because

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The Our Shawn: There’s so many different possibilities for the future. Right. And depending on which expert so you and I were talking the other day. What do you really do when you’re sitting there saying, you know, I want my organization to last, I want my organization to grow. I wanted to thrive.

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The Our Shawn: But there’s a range of different ways. The world to the wall. What do I do

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Lori Silverman: Well, first of all, there will always be a range of ways in which the world can evolve and there are ways to deal with this. So when I’m working with my clients and we have these were very

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Lori Silverman: disciplined and structured about what we do. So we

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Lori Silverman: Please, a set of questions that we want to have answers to 10 1520 years in the future. We do that first. We then collect information.

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Lori Silverman: Diverse information that is our goal to be divergent about all of these different questions. But then when we sit down with the information after we’ve looked at it, we asked a very important question, which is, what is the implication of all of these different viewpoints to our business.

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Lori Silverman: And we’re thinking in the future. Now there’s current implications to which people will start thinking about you can log those off to the side, because you might need to make some tweaks very quickly. Today, you know two things.

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Lori Silverman: But in the future. What are the implications and as people and I, and I’ll tell you people are brilliant.

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Lori Silverman: They are all every person I’ve ever worked with doing this work, and I’ve worked with folks as young as 14 and as old as 86 in meetings like this.

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Lori Silverman: Everyone can talk about implications to what’s happening to us and then we can start to say, if all of these implications.

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Lori Silverman: Could possibly be true. What are the potential strategies that could embrace these what are the potential risks that could embrace these what are the truisms we say anything. True.

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Lori Silverman: You know, an assumption that’s running through all of these that agree that we should start to pull out we can start to do these wonderful

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Lori Silverman: Assessments thinking assessments around what appears to be a mess, but it’s not because we know the world within complexity and chaos. There are patterns.

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Lori Silverman: And there’s always something that drives them together and what I say to my clients is you don’t want to pick a particular viewpoint and say, that’s what we’re going to agree with what you want to say as the following

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Lori Silverman: Potentially, all of these are going to happen when we look at what breakthroughs or innovations are going to embrace which of those could coexist in all of those worlds.

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The Our Shawn: Yeah.

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Lori Silverman: Let’s choose things that are really robust, because if we do that, then everybody else can be going like this and swinging every day. And we’re like, we get to stay the course.

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Lori Silverman: Right.

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The Our Shawn: Well, I think that’s fantastic because there will be some common denominators. Right. If you look to the future under different scenarios are some things that are always going to be there.

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The Our Shawn: And I think you I don’t, I talked about the other day, too, is you can kind of, you can start looking for those indicators right so

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The Our Shawn: You see, if you’ve mapped, let’s say, four or five different possible future scenarios.

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The Our Shawn: Right, your convenience store industry. We talked about them briefly earlier right but

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The Our Shawn: It was convenience store industry look like in the world of self driving cars. What does the convenience store industry look like

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The Our Shawn: You know, in a world where people work from home versus go to offices, you can have a runny scenarios and then look for common denominators. But then you can also say

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The Our Shawn: Let’s monitor to see if we go this direction, that direction or the other direction. Right. You can start look if you know what the future might be, you can start looking for indicators that the things are starting to go that direction. Right.

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Lori Silverman: Right, you can you can do it that way. I actually take a little bit of a different approach with my clients and that is one way to do scenarios.

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Lori Silverman: But another way to do scenarios that I have found to actually really illuminate a lot more possibilities is to have a question not related to your business.

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Lori Silverman: So for example, when I worked with the YMCA of the Inland Northwest several years ago, the question we had was, how will people live, work and play.

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Lori Silverman: In the year. That’s a 2030 I don’t remember what year we chose at that time. And then our scenarios were around a character and the characters family and the workplace and all of these other things. And then we backed out of that. What does that mean to us being a convenience store.

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Lori Silverman: Yeah. Now what was interesting when we did that work just to add to this because there was a huge aha, that happened.

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Lori Silverman: About the immediate moment, not just the future when we did this work and we involve people from the business community, not just the organization. So we had over 50 people

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Lori Silverman: Coming together for several days to work through all of the articles, we had in the conversations very thoughtful because we wanted to also help business leaders in the community to have a resource and

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Lori Silverman: The resource was us offering them our strategic thinking platform.

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Lori Silverman: Someone in the room as they were putting up some post it notes and doing different things. And by the way, folks, you can do this all of mine, there are platforms where you can do real work like this without having to physically bring people together.

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Lori Silverman: And someone went, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, and the, the head of the YMCA said, what, what is it, and he said,

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Lori Silverman: We just finished a capital campaign to build more brick and mortar building and the community anted up a ton of money for us to do that. But if you look at all these things that we’re putting up here. People don’t want brick and mortar 10 years from now.

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Lori Silverman: They want the y to come to them.

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Lori Silverman: Yeah, and and the CFO said Well darn good thing we didn’t put a shovel in the ground. Yet all we all we have is the ground you know that we’ve started to buy plots of land real estate.

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Lori Silverman: And and that shifted, not only the future of the organization. They created what they called mobile. Why, how do we take why to the people.

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Lori Silverman: I think about that today. If you could take a why on a bus to the people on a neighborhood. Think about that. What would that be like right during a covert incident.

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Lori Silverman: And then it was also. Well, what can we do with the assets that we have now before we take further action.

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Lori Silverman: But oh my gosh, what do you think would have happened a year later if they had started to build these buildings and hadn’t done this sort of strategic thinking anticipatory work.

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The Our Shawn: Yeah, well, that in the bigger problem is

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The Our Shawn: If you get into group. They can you do it with everybody else. Right. And that’s, that’s all of our concerns right everybody builds buildings and then you can’t liquidate your building because there’s too many buildings, you know, people

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The Our Shawn: People are starting to say that with office space. Now there’s a question, you know, one of the same loading now is

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The Our Shawn: You know, it’s been floating for a long time, but will it speed it up you know will speed up the

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The Our Shawn: The fact that we don’t need the same physical offices, we needed before you know because now you can watch the TV show, and they’re interviewing people in their living rooms right it’s going. I mean, we know

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The Our Shawn: That works. So that’s why you need to be ahead of it, right, because if you wait till everybody else catches up and you’re in the middle of it with everybody else you, and you’ve lost any advantage.

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Lori Silverman: Right. Well, I was even saying to a colleague of mine, a few weeks ago I said maybe everyone who’s working right now and commercial real estate their immediate pivot should be to teach all of their clients, how to do work from home remote work.

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Lori Silverman: Right. They should become the experts in that, but I’m is an example of that CB are he did a study on the year 2044 Johnson Controls.

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Lori Silverman: That they call smarter workplaces. They’re already scenarios that people have developed and put a lot of time and effort into to talk about what the workplace, of the future will look like.

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Lori Silverman: And I’m telling you something always done with this virus is accelerated the path to what they put on paper and they put that on paper. A few years ago, which is the workplace will be a luxury to come to

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Lori Silverman: You know, and some people might say, No, no, no, no, no. I need all my employees around me. I need to know what they’re doing, you know, and I’m like, Well, you just, you’re going to spend about four to six to eight weeks, not knowing all the time.

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Lori Silverman: Let’s have them on zoom. Some people do that they have people working away on silent and you know they can see them and Stephen and pipe up if something’s going on.

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Lori Silverman: But these these studies. Some of these already exist and folks like me know about those. So we’re able to bring those resources to organizations and say, you know, if this is something that’s going to happen along with all these other things. Then what do you need to do now.

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The Our Shawn: Yeah.

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Lori Silverman: And what are the implications. Right.

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The Our Shawn: Yes. So let’s let’s let’s let’s close out with that you know what do today’s business leader start doing now, other than calling Lori to get some help and

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The Our Shawn: Get you working on some of these exercises. What do you, what do you suggest that they do you know this month. Now that maybe things are a little more stable. Now that we’re ready to stay at home mode for a while we do now.

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Lori Silverman: Well, I think it goes back to my comment earlier about. Now the next step in the step after next first of all make certain

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Lori Silverman: That you do have this you know now peace this crisis peace under control because you need to be still be able to go to bed at night and at least sleep. A few hours right to catch your breath.

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Lori Silverman: So that hemorrhaging needs to have stopped. Second, I think in terms of the now. Have you been able to pivot to figure out what to do in the interim, you know, some organizations like we’ve talked. We’ve talked we’ve given some examples.

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Lori Silverman: Of how they immediately pivoted but what you need to buy within this next piece is time.

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Lori Silverman: So I think the first step is to make a choice. Are we are, are we not as a business going to dust our strategy and our strategic plan off the shelf. Because most people don’t use them.

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Lori Silverman: And are we going to step back and are we going to engage in, that’s a choice you have to make. First, are we going to engage in an exercise like this and then second,

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Lori Silverman: Who do we want to involve in an exercise like this and I encourage people to be broad and deep, you know, and even I’ve worked in an organization as large as a million people.

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Lori Silverman: Doing this work, it is possible to do to get people who are representative of the whole around the organization to participate.

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Lori Silverman: And then third, the one thing I’m going to tell people not to do is don’t conjecture from your own presupposed ideas about what the future is going to be

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Lori Silverman: We’re all limited unless all the people in your company are Steve Jobs. Okay. There are very few visionaries in the world.

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Lori Silverman: And then after that, then you have to start saying, if we had a crystal ball. This is, you know, you can make it a fun game if we had a crystal ball. What are the sorts of business questions that we would like to have the answers to.

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Lori Silverman: In the year 2013 that’s probably the year I do, is we’re in 2020 right now that if we could have the answers to them that we’d like to start to get the answers to.

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Lori Silverman: And that’ll start the ball rolling in terms of starting to collect some of this. But even those questions.

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Lori Silverman: Start to open up opportunities. Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also be experimenting

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Lori Silverman: In in this next step with some some things because there are some people who are good at our businesses that are good at design thinking you know your employees probably have some immediate ideas, some innovations that could be

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Lori Silverman: thought through and simulations done that really don’t cost you anything I’m saying do that too, while you’re doing this longer range sort of process.

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Lori Silverman: This doesn’t take a long time to do that’s I think what people are like, Oh, it’s going to take me a year. No it does not.

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Lori Silverman: I’ve gone from like someone saying, hey, we need to do this to doing this work with a board of directors of a company. I’m not an end their leadership team together in like

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Lori Silverman: Three weeks, four weeks. You got the time right now to do the work. I think that that’s the piece that people have to make a choice about. Yeah.

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The Our Shawn: I think that’s fantastic. So Lori. How do people connect with you how they find out more about you and your work and

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Lori Silverman: Good. Thank you for asking.

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Lori Silverman: The very best way today to find me on LinkedIn. I think I live there with a bunch of other people.

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Lori Silverman: So to find me on LinkedIn. Connect to me. Send me an invitation request and a note all of my contact information on how to reach me by phone, and by email is also there as well.

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Lori Silverman: So you can also send me something more private Wi Fi would prefer to do so, but that’s the best way at this time.

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The Our Shawn: Fantastic. So go check her out there. If you haven’t done so yet make sure she describes the future done right YouTube channel. We’re constantly bringing you contact about planning and building for the future.

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The Our Shawn: Laura, you are just a fantastic guest. I loved all the insights today and I learned a lot. I’m sure the business owners watching learned a lot. So thank you.

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Thank you for the opportunity.

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Toni Bell: Thank you.

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The Our Shawn: Thank you, Tony and I want to, I want to, I want to tell the folks that are out there watching pat yourself on the back for

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The Our Shawn: For investing yourself investing your future do these exercises, they will pay off well and look forward to joining again if you have questions, comments, ideas, drop us a note.

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The Our Shawn: I’m going to go ahead and stop the recording now, but we’ll hang out here on zoom for a few more minutes for those that are on the zoom side.

 

 

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