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The Past has Passed

Optimize Blog - August 11, 2011 - 0 comments

An enormous jawbone found in Kazakhstan is further evidence that giant birds roamed – or flew above – the Earth at the same time as the dinosaurs.  If flightless, the bird would have been 2-3m tall; if it flew, it may have had a wingspan of 4m.  The find is only the second bird of such a size in the Cretaceous geologic period, and the first in Asia.
The only other evidence of a bird of such a size during the period was a fossilised spinal bone found in France in 1995Dr Darren Naish of the University of Portsmouth says “This fossil is only known from its lower jaw, so unfortunately we can’t say anything at all with certainty about the shape and form of the whole animal.  If it was flightless and sort of ostrich-shaped, it would have been maybe 2-3m tall and somewhere over 50kg,”
For 150 years, a species called Archaeopteryx has been regarded as the first true bird, representing a major evolutionary step away from dinosaurs. Archaeopteryx has a hallowed place in science, long hailed as not just the first bird but as one of the clearest examples of evolution in action.
Archaeopteryx - The first true bird?
Discovered in Bavaria in 1861 just two years after the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species, the fossil seemed to blend attributes of both reptiles and birds and was quickly accepted as the “original bird”.  However all this leads to that fact that there is a great deal of confusion in the field says Prof Lawrence Witmer from Ohio University, as scientists try to understand where dinosaurs end and where birds begin.
Having given this ongoing debate some thought we got to thinking about how much time is spent looking to the past in business and wondering if our allocation of time appropriate.  A typical business we work with might spend 70% of it’s time reviewing the past, 20% considering the present and perhaps 10% focused on the future – not unlike out scientist friends trying to prove the origin and evolution of birds.

Much time and effort is spent on what happened last week, last month, or last year. This is not to say that looking at the past is not important to create the future, but we must look to the past to learn, not to re-live.

Similarly, time allocated to the present is often spent on telling stories and justifying current results. It is important to understand the present and we must do so by sticking to facts to better enable us to move forward. If we continuously justify our current results, we will never improve.

Finally, time allocated to the future is spent on describing the way things should be.  Although it is obviously important to create a clear picture of how things could be, we must also spend time determining what needs to be done to create the desired future.  So, we suggest that the allocation of time should look like this:

  • Past – 10%
  • Present – 20%
  • Future – 70%

Importantly, not only does the allocation change, but the content of each does as well.

  • Past – Spend time looking at ‘the past’  to learn from it.  This information will be used to create strategies for a better future.
  • Present – Time spent on the present must be focused on facts and data to help us better understand where we are today
  • Future – Time spent on the future should be to determine exactly what we want the future to be like and what we must do to make it that way.

So unless you are a palaeontologist, don’t spend the majority of your time looking at the past and perhaps even becoming victim to it.  Reassess the allocation of your time and become more future orientated.

The past is passed – the future is where the profit lies…

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