Sunday, December 28, 2014

2015 Prediction? Be ready for anything—and don’t stop getting ready

At a family dinner over the Holidays, my father in law leaned in to me and said, “Hank, you’re a blogger. You have access to a lot of research and smart people. What’s your big prediction for 2015?"

Now my father in law’s going to be 95 in March, but he reads 3 or 4 newspapers cover to cover every day. He constantly analyzes his investments, and is still active in local politics. He’s sharp as a tack and I wasn’t going to get off easily with an off-the-cuff prognostication.

I said, Dad. “I don’t really know.”
“Why not?” he grumbled.

I said, “it seems everything’s just more volatile than it used to be. The good stuff gets better at an increasingly better rate (think stock market, low-oil prices, improving job market) and the bad stuff gets worse at an increasingly depressing rate (depressingly low interest rates for savers, a global economic slowdown, record number of working age people out of the  official workforce, global warming, currency devaluation, Ebola, ISIS, cyber terrorism, etc.).” Even worse, sometimes the good stuff is what causes the bad stuff, I explained.
“Hmm,” he muttered, taking a painfully long pull from of his wine glass. I braced for the worst, hoping that a less-informed family member at the table would jump into the conversation with a suicidal comment that he’d quickly dissect and dismiss with a sardonic chuckle. Most of the time someone pulls through for me, but no such luck on this day. “OK,” he said. “Nice analysis, but what’s your opinion.”

I thought I had just given my opinion, but my father in law come of age during all night bull sessions in college and the corporate and military command and control era. A member of the Depression Era silent generation, he was a Fortune 500 exec, a Navy man and a chemical engineer. Each direct question requires a direct answer in his world view. Ambiguity and the knowledge sharing/link-and-tweet economy is an enigma to him. He assumes anyone with a byline is obligated to have a singular clear-cut opinion about something.

But that’s my point. There are just too many variables in the equation. By the time you have your strategy and game plan together, the playing field has changed. YOU HAVE TO BE READY 24/7/365 to change on a dime. As we’ve mentioned many times before in this blog, the winners are not necessarily the strongest or the fastest, they’re the ones who are the smartest and most agile.
Doesn’t matter if you’re in sports, business, the military, agriculture, the arts or any other human endeavor. You’ve got to be agile. You’ve got to be good at partnering, collaborating and sharing your knowledge. To that end, here are some excellent quick reads on the subject that came across our radar this week….

Justin Wolfers -- From Unemployment to Oil: The Big Unknowns of 2015

Thomas Friedman -- Is Vacation Over?
Paul Krugman --
Tidings of Comfort


As Steve Jobs liked to say, “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.”  Let’s have a great 2015. There are going to be some lows and some highs, with lots of roller coaster rides along the way. Let’s enjoy the trip and get after it!

Best, HB and team
Our blog has more, as does the FREE Resources page of our website.


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