The Future is Just Not What It Used to Be

Hockey buffs are well aware of Walter Gretzky’s advice to a young Wayne regarding skating to where the puck is going, not where it has been. Wayne later surmised that a good hockey player skates to the puck but a great hockey player skates to where the puck is going to be. 

However, watching The Great One perform over the years, I became impressed with another aspect of Wayne’s game. While he had an uncanny ability to know where to position himself, he often created the situation that CAUSED the play to unfold. He directly influenced where the puck would be. He created the future.

In business we often spend considerable time and energy thinking about the past and the future. Where is the market going? What are the economic indicators saying? What are the trends? What does a particular market segment want? 

While there is some value in post-hoc and predictive analyses, let us not forget that we have the ability to influence, shape, and (yes) to some extent, create the future. As someone I know said, “I am not very good at predicting the future. I am a little better at creating it.” Such active participation in creating the destiny of a business prevents the inseparable bond that develops between being a victim of circumstances and behaving unintelligently.


Patrick McNees
Managing Partner
Health and Life Science
Kirchner Private Capital Group

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