I used to be a roofer – a job which was always full of banter.
One day, we were working 30 miles from base and an extraordinary conversation took place.
‘What day is it?’ asked one of the lads.
Quick as a flash Micky Thompson shouted, ‘Thursday!’
‘Are you sure?’ enquired another.
‘Yes, I’m sure,’ said a very confident Micky. ‘I’ve just seen a bin man’.
Where Micky (and most of us) lived, bin day was a Thursday. It didn’t occur to him, not even for a second, that other people’s bins would be emptied on other days.
Here’s the best bit ….
It WAS a Thursday.
Micky’s one-in-five chance paid off.
Basically, if you make enough announcements, sooner or later you’ll get one right; a bit like Nostradamus.
It’s long been proven that Nostradamus was (at best), average with his vague guess work and at worst, nowhere near.
Yet he’s still quoted.
Because I speak at dozens of conferences a year, I have the privilege of hearing many executives give their view of the future.
Some have the foresight to preface with, ‘I don’t know for sure but what I think …,’
…. while others just make their predictions, happy to say they were right when they made a perfect prophecy and happy to forget when they get it wrong.
The really smart ones use data.
They’re well read.
They know their industry inside and out.
And still don’t make predictions.
The secret isn’t to pretend to know what the future will be like, it’s to be ready for whatever the future brings.