Friday, July 1, 2011

The Three Sights


I was recently at a conference and heard a wonderful speech by Dr. Christine Riordan, Dean and Professor of Management, Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver. She highlighted what she called the three sights - hindsight, insight and foresight - and how powerful they can be when thought of together. This struck me as something that everyone should think about as it ties in very well to job performance.

Hindsight can be defined as "the recognition of the realities, possibilities or requirements of a situation, event or decision after it has occurred". Think of the saying "hindsight is 20/20" - we all think of what we would have done differently in a specific situation given different information, knowledge of the outcome or whatever. This often happens in situations at work where you feel that you could have done something better - such as reviewing a presentation that you gave, looking over a proposal that you wrote, analyzing your end of internship review. Make sure to use hindsight to your advantage and learn from your prior experiences to grow and do better the next time a similar situation comes along.

Next, insight is defined as "the capacity to discern the true nature of a situation". This is when you truly understand something - that moment of clarity when it all just clicks. Hopefully this happens during your time in school, but for many this happens while on their internship or at their full time job. All of a sudden concepts you studied tie in perfectly to something you are doing at work and it just makes sense. This might be in the form of a marketing tool that you used, a financial formula that you memorized or cool uses for Excel that you weren't sure were relevant for normal usage. These are the times to show off what you know and think of ways to continue using your knowledge and building off of it.

Finally, foresight, which is defined as being able to "predict or plan for the future". This is where you combine your hindsight and your insight and do a better job figuring out what is next. Think about how you can do better in your current job or how you can help your company do better in certain areas. Think about the world around you, the economy, global trends, industry trends, etc. and utilize this knowledge to your advantage in helping you plan. Your employer will appreciate your ability to take learnings from the past and build on them to make the future (both yours and the company's) better.

Think about a time that you utilized past experiences and your knowledge database to build your strategy for the future. How did it work? What can you learn from it?

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