3 ways to approach the future…
Predict, discover or avoid.
If you are able to prophesize correctly about the future, then prediction is the most rewarding approach. It offers you the chance to grasp first mover advantage and gain competitive edge. The challenge of course is that football is inherently hard to predict; both on and off the field there is a huge element of luck and unknown. Many doubted the talents of Aaron Ramsey prior to this season and we didn’t really know how much losing Gareth Bale would hurt Tottenham Hotspur. It wasn’t obvious, until it happened. Nor could we ever have imagined the incredible impact that social media would have on football just 5 years ago. Unless you have mystical powers or a flawless prediction model, then it’s tough to see how this is the best way to tackle tomorrow with any degree of certainty.
For those realistic enough to admit that you can’t predict the future, then discovery is a good option. Discovery is about feeling, unearthing, testing, risking, failing, re-evaluating and experiencing breakthroughs. Then failing again, and getting back to the drawing board. This may seem indulgent in the ‘winner takes all’ culture of elite football where every game is a ‘must win’. And indeed discovery must not be too broad; if you try and test every new invention and allow for every possible future scenario then you’ll lose out to the team that’s smart enough to focus on a smaller number of endeavours. Focused discovery is the best strategy, where innovation, precision and persistence will lead to the marginal gains that mean you stay ahead of the game.
Assuming that tomorrow’s world will be like today is a third way to approach the future. Just not a very clever one. Yet in football, resistance to change happens all the time: “you’re only as good as your last game” is a cliché indicative of this mentality. Avoidance is the strategy of denial, will limit development and is rather short-sighted.
So, unless you have a crystal football, choose discovery instead.
Follow: Blake Wooster @blakewooster