Do you know an expert at business forecasting? What you sold yesterday, or what is shipping today, is easy to report. When you can predict tomorrow you have something special.
Some might quickly argue that what happens today will be the predictor of tomorrow. Fair enough, perhaps, yet an actualized vision of tomorrow, knowing the future, seems more desirable.
When you attend the staff meeting, you’ll probably hear some reports about what happened recently, or across the most previous quarter. There may be a comparison to a year ago, or even two, but that doesn’t help anyone know for sure what tomorrow will look like.
Looking out your window right now you can describe the weather. You may also be able to access some weather data from yesterday, last month, or a year ago. Given the forecast for tomorrow or next week is risky.
Even our smartphones may show us historical photos which help us remember what we were doing one year ago, or two, three, or more.
Honestly, it is easy to describe right now, recently, or maybe even last year.
Can you predict the future?
Business forecasting is a great skill. It is not the same as strategy development, and certainly, it doesn’t have the guarantees of the report from last week.
Risk is always a factor. The wedding planner may have had a forecast for the 2020 wedding season. It probably wasn’t the doom and gloom that actually presented itself because of the unknown pandemic when the forecast was made.
Product and raw material shortages might be a forecast, or they may actually be factual data following the shutdown of a factory, mining, or harvesting operation weeks or months before. This information may not be a forecast or a prediction, but simply a report based on historical data.
It seems that most businesses seek is information of the unknown. Sure, historical data matters and it may be helpful, but it is unclear if it represents an accurate prediction for tomorrow.
The forecast for the weather is a risk, so is forecasting in your business.
Use the data. Call your best shot.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.