When I research the definition of forward thinking I find that there is no clear definition. Many define it as a business term for visionary. This would be someone that looks to the future to better perform tasks more efficiently and grow their business in size and volume. I would tend to agree at first thought. I have always been one to ask the question “what are we going to do next” and this would indicate one that is never satisfied or one with an unsatisfied desire to get bigger and better. Another way to define a progressive thinker would be one that might ask the question “what opportunities will the future bring”. These may all be true for some forward thinkers and visionaries. I would like to believe that these things would just simply be the result of forward thinking. In other words when you are a forward thinker constantly asking the question “what is next” and acting on the answers the results would be very positive for your companies growth.
Recently I challenged my sons who are the managers of our company to start showing me forward thinking in each of their areas of responsibilities. There was a quizzical expression on their faces as though I wasn’t clear in what I was asking for. I see now that was due to the lack of clarity to the definition of the term. I tried to explain that I wanted them to look and plan ahead, anticipate the future, look for potential problems and find solutions. I tried to use some examples such as using capitol to replace worn out equipment before it starts breaking down while a job is in progress or searching for new and stronger clients for when the economy becomes more challenging as well as searching out a better way to prepare or present bids. In my view, this would be forward thinking. Workforce management would be another example of forward thinking “anticipate what our needs will be and make a plan to get those needs filled. My fear would be that if we are not thinking and moving forward then we are going backward. We tend to fall in a mode of complacency and feel as though we are entitled to only good results for our efforts. This breeds laziness and entitlement and could bring your company to it’s knees while complacency sets in.
This would bring the question to mind of what kind of forward thinking can we bring to the masonry industry? I remember when mast climbing scaffold came on the scene and all the “old timers” stuck in their ways did not want to embrace this new step into the future. We did make the investment realizing some of the potential, a safer and more productive way to put masonry units in the wall. This was most evident when the construction holocaust hit us in 2009 and we needed to be more competitive for the limited work that was available to us. This is a great example of preparing for trends in the market place and opportunities before they develop (“forward thinking”). There are many other examples and I would like to thank those who are constantly investing their time and money to help keep our industry in the current century. Bricklaying is commonly refereed to as the second oldest industry in history but we don’t have to act like it.
I always like to leave you with a challenge and today’s would be to practice froward thinking, you may not have a natural bent for it but certainly you can plan and practice foresight (which in Greek means) forward thinking and be better prepared for the future. Who knows maybe they may start calling you “The Visionary.”
“Cornerstone in the Work-zone”
Sincerely, Larry Bonife, President