How Do You Plan For The Future When Everything Is Up In The Air? What Is Your Value?

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This is the first part in series of pieces that I’m going to put together about planning in a crisis or planning to move forward in a downturn or unexpected challenging time. 

In the Slack channel I created for folks in the world of live entertainment, sports, and the arts, I’ve set up a book club where we are reading Peter Drucker’s book, Managing In A Time Of Change.

The key idea that rests at the heart of Peter Drucker’s work is almost always that the future doesn’t happen to you, you create it.

At this point in time where we have seen the entire global economy come to a halt, it is hard to wrap our head around that idea and for most of us, it is also pretty scary to think about what comes next.

For the last few days, I’ve been thinking on an idea that I read from Alan Weiss when he mentioned, at the end of this period you don’t just restart your business, you relaunch it.

By relaunching, that means you need to rethink your business…but the question becomes, “How?”

As a consultant, I’ve always believed in the power of questions to help people see where the opportunities exist instead of showing or telling folks.


Because there is power in the feeling of self-discovery and you often have a much more in-depth understanding of the ins and outs of your specific business, but my role is to help you see what you are missing.

So…how do we plan?

First, we start with the question of value:

“What value do you want to create in the future?”

Often, in boom times, we become negligent in the pursuit of our unique value because as I read yesterday, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

Right now, that logic is being tested.

So the first step in planning for the future is that we need to think through our unique value proposition.

What will make us better?

How are we going to be different than the folks that we are competing with?

Due to the nature of this current downturn and crisis, what are folks going to be looking for coming out of this?

How can we add value to their lives and businesses coming out of a crisis?

Are there certain fears that folks are going to have that might make our solution and value seem dangerous to folks?

How is this value different than what I sold or talked about before?

The key that all of us need to come to grips with over the next weeks is that business will have changed. None of us have ever dealt with a crisis created by a virus that you can’t see, that lots of people can catch and spread with no symptoms, and that calls into question the social nature of humans.

While the times are challenging, it is also a good time to think through what comes next.

If I have one piece of advice that I would share after the 2008 financial meltdown is that you can’t allow yourself to be wed by what was or what you felt would always be true. You absolutely must embrace the future and to use the Peter Drucker idea we have to make the future, not wait for it.

What do y’all think?


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