Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Rhetoric

In times of general economic expansion based upon population growth and the extension of mature technologies, many fundamental future realities are forecastable with reasonable certainty. Moreover, the imperatives and opportunities arising from these realities are also largely extensions of past experience, and are thus fairly straightforward to anticipate. In such times, the essence of strategy is to "exploit the inevitable", and it is purposeful to engage in long range planning.

In tines of multi-variable change, on the other hand, many long-term realities are obscured and their consequences made less certain by short term turbulence arising from society’s largely unpredictable adaptation to change. In such times, the essence of strategy is to make order of confusion, a task for which long-range planning has proven fruitless and counter-productive. Instead of a plan, to lead an institution or a community through times of uncertainty and change, a group’s decision makers must establish a "creative commons" – a shared set of expectations about future external realities and the diverse range of plausible possibilities which these realties pose – that they, the decision-makers, agree they must address, exploit, forestall or otherwise deal with.

…the futurist/facilitator/leader must help each organization or community evolve its own "creative commons", a conceptual space within which all stakeholders can envision the potential realization of outcomes that will be both publicly and personally desirable.

From "Rhetoric: The Language and Logic of Leadership"
By David Pearce Snyder and Gregg Edwards, Snyder Family Enterprises

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