Seeing Tomorrow

Dr Richard Shrapnel PhD
5 min readNov 21, 2022
Photography by Jonny Gios on

In business, there is a sense that you should not be leading the business if you can’t see what the future might hold. But of course, no one can know exactly what the future may hold, but you can certainly set a summit that you are seeking to reach. And it is that summit which serves as the beacon you orienteer your business to through all the various challenges and changes that will arise. And yes, it has to be the right summit for your business and expressed in a manner that entices others.

Active Knowledge Question:

What is the summit that you are striving to reach?

Where Are You Looking?

In business, we compete around the value we are able to deliver into our customers’ needs.

We often don’t think of our businesses in this manner and view our activities through the lens of the services/products we currently offer. And by comparing them to the offerings of our competitors. We play around the edges of our offerings to make them more attractive than our competitors. It is a short-term and usually operational focus with a profit metric and more profit as its prime measure.

But failing to look up and see the horizon can result in your business chasing everyone else in the market day after day. You can only get ahead of the pack if you can see the destination and discern a more effective route to achieve it before everyone else.

This is where being able to clearly see the tomorrow for your business is so vital. And it is better expressed as seeing the future customer value you want to be able to offer to your customers and striving toward being able to deliver on that quest.

Can You See Your Summit?

To see this summit, which is a completely new level of customer value, you must have an intimate understanding of your customers’ needs. Why do your customers choose a specific product/service to meet the need they seek to fulfil?

What is that need? Do you understand it, or simply sell what you offer, and it seems to fit somehow your customers’ needs?

Of course, customer needs can be complex and have many faces that a customer blends to make their final selection. A selection based upon what is available to them and after trading off the various options and their perception of value.

Setting a summit requires inspiration and imagination. Setting a peak that likely cannot even be seen now, or in other words, is simply not presently possible. But that’s okay as summits are only worthwhile if they are challenging. The real potential of the people within your business will only be drawn forward if the challenge is enticing.

Think about the need that your service/product really fulfils and then open that need out and express it as an unrealistic expectation. If you manufacture and sell cars, that summit may be expressed as ‘your greatest joy is your daily journeys’. So, what would make getting into your car each day to travel to work such a pleasure, joy and experience that you look forward to it more than anything else? And your customers tell everyone, ‘I just love driving this car, it makes my day every day, and I will never drive anything else’.

For whatever business you are in, what impact can you have on your customers’ lives so they will never want to deal with anyone else? Answer this, and you are on the way to crafting a summit worthy of a quest.

The Journey

The competitiveness of any business lies in its ability, leadership’s ability, to muster the combined talent and effort of every single person working within and with that business. The competitive engine within your business will set the floor and ceiling to its competitive performance and ensuing success.

Being able to see tomorrow, to be able to articulate a summit that will exceed every customers’ expectation and that will leave every competitor wondering how you did it, this is the journey you want to be able to invite your team to join. People will participate and contribute to their fullest potential when provided with a righteous opportunity which challenges them and into which they may commit unreservedly.


As you begin to imagine the summit you are searching for and begin to visualise it your eyes will lift. You will discover alternate paths forward and ways in which to even lift the customer value you intend to deliver even higher.

You are no longer looking at your feet, stumbling forward, and doing the same thing every day. Instead, you are now looking around you with a clear purpose (your summit) and working your path forward. And with each step you are moving ahead of your competitors and closer to the value you intend to deliver to your customers. A value that no competitor has even envisaged yet.

You are progressively investing in and developing the capabilities that your people, your business, will require. You see opportunities in new technology and changes that are occurring in the marketplace. Challenges are being overcome, and you are getting stronger every day.

You are orienteering your way to this summit, and as you progress, it is becoming clearer, bigger and more exciting. You are learning every moment of this journey and compounding on every step you have taken. Nothing is wasted.

And your summit may move, will likely move, and that is okay as it is expected on this journey of discovery as the competitive strength of your business is growing every day as the focus on the customer and their needs becomes clearer and stronger.

Being able to see tomorrow is about looking ahead with a view to the customer and their needs and seeking to deliver a greater customer value than anyone could have ever imagined. Only the impossible will bring forth the real potential in your people and the business and secure an undefeatable market position for your business. A position where you are constantly striding from one summit to another, as that is who your business is.


An entirely new level of performance.

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All the best in the success of your business,

Richard Shrapnel