What is the Law of Proximity?
You become like those things around you.
Love breeds love. Contempt breeds contempt. Greed breeds greed. Women in close proximity cycle together. etc. In business, like-minded people tend to attract like-minded people and people working in close proximity become more similar than different. That’s Proximity at work!
What is the Law of Polarity?
Opposite poles are complementary and contained in one another.
We would not know what light was, if there was no dark; the masculine would not exist without the feminine. We would not see the moon if there was no sun. In business, some businesses must fail for others to succeed. In every problem lies the seeds of an opportunity. That’s Polarity.
Can we predict the future?
Not often. Unless we have psychic abilities and even those with prophetic gifts are not always correct in terms of timing.
Can we build stories about the future?
Because of The Laws of Polarity and Proximity.
The Law of Proximity shows us that most businesses (and most relationships) breed a default story about the future, which we call “THE OFFICIAL FUTURE”. A self-reinforcing (and completely senseless) perception of the way things are and is a projection based on the PAST.
The OFFICIAL FUTURE often has a sort of complacency, sleepiness, eccentricity and entitlement to it and it can be DEADLY! That’s the bad part!
The Law of Polarity shows us that in all moments, complementary polarities exits. Things can be both ‘better’ and ‘worse’. Circumstances can ‘stay the same’ and be ‘very different’. We can build stories based on these polarities. That’s the good part!
What do these stories look like?
Let’s consider AUSTRALIA…
THE ‘OFFICIAL FUTURE’ STORY.
1. ‘She’ll be right mate!’
Economy is still good.
MORE OF THE SAME BUT MUCH BETTER STORY.
2. ‘Aussie Rules’
Economy booms for 10 more years as even more of our mineral resources are needed by the world.
MORE OF THE SAME BUT MUCH WORSE STORY.
3. ‘Uncle Sam Dies’
The US stock market collapses and the entire world (including China) experiences a 5 year economic depression.
VERY DIFFERENT BUT MUCH BETTER STORY.
4. ‘Disneyworld Australia’
As US society gradually collapses, the number of wealthy international ‘baby boomer’ tourists tracking to Australia skyrockets.
VERY DIFFERENT BUT MUCH WORSE STORY.
5. ‘China Invasion’
China buys up even more of our assets and in 15 years starts formally migrating large numbers of its burgeoning population into South East Asia and Australia.
Story telling gives us more than one scenario for the future.
Story telling like this aims to build ‘memories of the future’. It challenges conventional managers to abandon the one-line or ‘official future’ approach.
Story telling gives us more than one scenario for the future and puts us in a stronger and more aware place to take advantage of changes in the business environment.
The ‘Official Future’ approach is invariably risky. There is a dangerous lag between external change and internal perception.
“I think there is a world market for about five computers”
Thomas J Watson, IBM Chairman (1943)
Each scenario is simply an imaginative story about the future – a sketch of ‘life’ as it could develop from the present moment into the future. Well developed stories about each possibility, help you see emerging possibilities first:
“The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious”
John Scully Former CEO of Pepsi and Apple Computer
YOUR NEXT STEP
At Hale Consulting Group, we are experts in Scenario Planning and Strategy. If you engage us to help with your Strategy, we won’t guarantee you that we will always be right about the future, but better still, we’ll help you drop the downside risks, so that you are almost never wrong about the future.
Why not call us on +61 407 301 200. We’ll gently remind you that failing to anticipate for multiple possibilities is a plan for long-term failure.