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This time of year is a great time to reflect on what we have learned and accomplished, as well as where & how we can improve. This thoughtful strategy determines what is next in life and in business, whether we like it or not. Hopefully we learn from the past to better prepare for the future. Like many businesses you have formulated plans for the new year and reviewed how the previous year shook out – financials, sales & business plans, initiatives and many other things.

What am I thinking about this time of year? I am always seeking better ways to know what I don’t know, and being more open to change. If I know what I don’t know, I can create better business plans and strategies to find out the things I don’t know. Do I know what I don’t know? Do I have ways of finding out, what I don’t know? Inevitably the things we don’t know, cause surprises that reverse progress. The way I tackle this is through the willingness to try new things, force myself to look at the world differently and being open to change. Why? Because the only thing we know for sure in our world, is change!

The biggest enemy to any business is getting to a point where you think you know everything, and you’ve got it all figured out. Many businesses don’t think this happens to them, but this is a slow gradual process and many fall victim to this kind of thinking. We live in a world of perceptions and beliefs, and how you see the world is in large part a product of your interpretation – rose colored glasses. We can choose to believe our own Bull**** or we can be honest with ourselves and accept that we do not know everything. We have seen enormous changes in the world in the last 15+ years. So much so that you couldn’t write a screen play that would have predicted all of the many events that occurred. If our world has changed so much, then why is it that our beliefs and business plans haven’t changed accordingly? Some interesting food for thought!

If you can accept change then the next step is being prepared for it. I am not suggesting stuffing money in mattresses but being more adaptive. If you read the signs of the times the most resounding theme is adaptation. As I see trends in business, I take notes of my observations, and develop strategies that adapt to the emerging new world order and environment. I find this better prepares me to capitalize on future opportunities. So I look for ways to get information that tells me more about what I don’t know.

When we recognize that we don’t know certain things, like a medical issue we seek out experts. As for business, are there experts that know what we don’t know. Sure there are. It’s just that we are more open to seek an expert medical opinion than a business one. Ether way, you have to make sure that you are always seeking the best business advice. When I encounter areas of expertise I don’t have, I have ways or and sources for finding these answers.

This may seem like simple stuff, but there countless examples of businesses who had it all figured out and then suddenly went out of business. They were resistant to change, believed they knew what they didn’t know and had it all figured out.

In my consulting practice, I help my clients know what they don’t know,  providing effective business plans and strategies to thrive in an ever changing world. As our world gets more and more complex, so does the need to know what you don’t know in the new year. Wishing you a prosperous new year!