My family enjoys the whole experience of seeing movies at the local theatre. We like to arrive early to take in the atmosphere of the posters for all the movies that are playing, get our popcorn and other snacks, and find our way to one of the seemingly endless doors that lead to the big screens. Once seated we wait in anticipation for the show to start.
For us, half of the show is the preview of future coming attractions, the other half is the feature presentation. We like to see the previews for two reasons that apply to successful leadership. First, it allows us to make our personal future plans when we know where the industry is going. Second, it give us a glimpse into what to expect in the present (the feature film) because the future previews are geared towards what is thought to be the expectations of the audience.
Here are four reasons that successful leaders provide a preview of future attractions:
Leaders know the future is inevitable, Successful leaders understand that the future is coming whether we want it to or not. C.S. Lewis said, “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever they do, whoever they are.”
Tomorrow comes for the entire world. In fact for some it has already come. Peanuts comic strip creator Charles Schultz once joked, “Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia.”
Planning for the future doesn’t guarantee success, but it does give you a definite plan of action to follow which brings a much higher chance for success than not.
Leaders envision the future. Now, in the present, is the time to dream of your future. Create a vision of what your perfect world would be then make plans to reach it. Eleanor Roosevelt told us, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Some of the people thought to be the wisest were also the biggest dreamers. Albert Einstein, the physics genius once said, “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” And Winston Churchill, the former prime minister of England during WWII said, “The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.”
Leaders plan for the future. The only part of time that is already written is history. You are living today and tomorrow has yet to come. You have choices to make that will determine your future success.
“Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” – William Jennings Bryan.
Remember, the future will come whether you plan or not. You will play a part in the future that is created, so why not play a part in creating it?
“Control your own destiny or someone else will.” – Jack Welch
Leaders lead to the future. So the future is coming, you created a dream of what it can look like and you have plans to reach it. The final step is to take people to your dream. The best leaders don’t shout “GO”, they shout “FOLLOW.” Robert F. Kennedy taught us, “It is not enough to understand, or to see clearly. The future will be shaped in the arena of human activity, by those willing to commit their minds and their bodies to task.”
So if you want to lead your team to a successful future, do it now. As Pope John Paul II said, “The future starts today, not tomorrow.”