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Forward Thinking Leadership

In our 4th in a series of principles that contribute to Google's success, Edwin Miller, CEO shares how constantly looking towards the future can help identify opportunities. Look forward, innovate and live in a resource state!

Forward thinking means you are seeking the next big opportunity. Google is always contemplating how to innovate their current products and business model. Peter Drucker wrote that innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship – this is the act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth. Let that statement soak in for a moment. Innovation is the instrument that will change any business for the better. So many of our businesses, during good times, fail to disrupt their business model and innovate. It is easy to become comfortable. That is the exact time to test the business model and determine where change and looking forward is necessary.

Google is relentless at looking forward and innovating their business model. Sure, there are firms today that are inventing all types of offerings, but Google has always been forward looking in their business model. The best businesses emulate this thinking and strive for the future by embracing change as a way of being. Let’s also think about what “living in a resource state” means. I think of this as living in a constant state of listening and learning. It is the ability to have an open mind and be curious. While curiosity killed the cat, it also helps businesses thrive in good and bad times. What is working and why? How could we improve a process or role in the business? How can we create delighted clients? All of these questions, and many more, should be rattling about in an organization on a daily basis.

In our personal lives we also must always think of how to reinvent, improve, and innovate our own personal offerings and brand. Again, in good times, we become comfortable. We should understand that if we are not improving ourselves, then we are surely declining in this competitive world as someone else is improving at a faster pace. We should live in a resource state. Personally, I search for this attribute in all people I interview. Are you in a constant state of learning? Are you always thinking about how to alter your approach and course to improve your outcomes? If you are, you are living in a resource state. I find that many people will circle the same proverbial block their entire life. Do you? If you see the same houses or trends over and over again in your life, then you have not yet reached the resource state that Google has demonstrated.


I have found that if there is an issue that needs correcting, I can either correct the issue myself or someone else will correct the issue – and possibly to my demise. We all fall short and will struggle to break out of the mire at times. However, if we keep our eyes looking forward, innovate, and live in a resource state, we will gain the most value on the time we invest. Change is inevitable. Looking forward and driving change is key.



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