I heard someone say recently that a crisis doesn’t suddenly happen, we simply don’t notice the signs of it’s onset. That was paraphrased a bit but I think it captures the point being made. The discussion was about the economic crisis, but I wanted to share how it applies elsewhere.
The weather forecast for an aerodrome is published typically for a 24 hour period. The forecaster needs to monitor the forecast’s accuracy to determine if and when the forecast needs to be changed due to evolving weather patterns. The forecaster does this, at least hourly, through an official published observation for the same aerodrome. The forecaster can compare the current conditions recorded in the official observation with the expected (forecasted) conditions for this same hour. For example, are the winds from the same direction and speed?; is the amount of cloud cover greater or less?; and etc.
Details in the observation can provide early clues to a breakdown in the forecast reasoning. Often they are dismissed, overlooked, or deemed not critical enough to act at the moment. (Similar to the economic discussion at the outset of this post.) For example, the presence of clouds above the aerodrome at 30,000 ft probably isn’t going to ruin anyone’s day. However, from a forecast reasoning perspective, if the sky was to be clear blue at this time and it is not, a reason for the clouds being there, now, needs to be established and may mean that other forecast events could happen earlier than expected.
Essentially, there’s an opinion of how future events will unfold and observational evidence to confirm whether the opinions are unfolding as expected or not. There seem to be a couple of concerns here from my perspective: First, to whom am I listening to for information (opinion, guidance, etc) and second, what am I using to judge performance?
We are in an information age. You can get information from many, many sources. You may act on information you receive from news sources (internet, TV, radio), ads, social media, advisors, stock tips, a friend or family member, mentor, books, and etc. Like the weather forecast example above, it’s important that you can pick out signs that the “opinion” may need adjusting. If you need to wait for the information sources to tell you, then the “crisis” will have happened, as if suddenly.
Educate yourself. This needn’t be about taking courses. Take advantage of technology today to keep you abreast of what’s happening. Use Twitter and follow some agencies for a bit and see if you expand your world without much effort. Find mentors and read their books and articles. Over a short period of time you’ll have information and a foundation with which to identify subtle changes and may then be better prepared to take action.