In this fast paced world where our finances can be deflated at any moment, where the business world can change overnight, and we cannot afford to miss a moment of political theater in fear it might adversely affect our lives (which seems to happen regularly these days), we can ill-afford to just mind our own business and do our jobs. Not long ago we could simply wake up, get dressed, go to work, do our job, and come home to play with the kids, never worrying about our careers, finances, or safety. Now we have to stay on top of things all the time. If we do not, we leave ourselves exposed to catastrophe. However, because our world is now so complex, staying on top of events can be a full time job which few of us can afford to do.

Back in the 20th century we received news and information primarily through the print media, such as newspapers and magazines, not to mention television or radio, but the Internet and the computer changed all of that. Now the print media is much too slow to be effective, and television and radio are unreliable sources of information as they tend to be more slanted than factual. Information is still vital for our survival but we are now experiencing a transition in how we access information. Anybody who still depends on print journalism or the main stream media for their news will always be looking over their shoulder, never forward. Yes, our world is changing that fast.

The Internet has replaced the others as the premier vehicle for accessing news in a timely manner, and at considerably less expense. E-mail blasts from powerful search engines can now deliver news as it occurs, be it on our personal computers or smart phones. We can also browse for news ourselves in both text and video formats, but this still implies a reactive form of news as opposed to anticipating developments before they occur. In order to be more proactive we must be mindful of calendars, forecasts, and plans, a lot of which can also be found on the Internet. Unfortunately most people are still unfamiliar with how to gather such information. The print and main stream media obviously has access to such information, but they are content to tell you what happened in the past as opposed to what is coming in the future. If they did otherwise, their news would lack the drama they depend on. In other words, we cannot passively wait for our news and information to arrive, we need to aggressively harvest it ourselves in order to gain the edge we desperately need to survive and prosper. This means there is a shift underfoot from reactive journalism to proactive reporting.

My “Bryce is Right!” daily podcast is but a small example of proactive news reporting. The first part of my program is aimed at preparing my listeners for the coming day. Through a rather substantial list of Internet calendars and other contacts I have developed, I report on such things as anticipated flight delays, special daily sales of office merchandise and travel, current economic indicators, business and government schedules, and other pertinent upcoming events. Basically, I’m trying to help my listeners make better decisions as opposed to finding out afterwards. I hope you will tune-in if you get a chance.

You can do likewise if you are so inclined, but I encourage you to explore three specific areas:

1. Professional contacts – specifically trade groups pertaining to your line of work, as well as key customers and vendors who are strategic to your business. Other areas might include unions, and government agencies who may affect such things as inspections, taxes, and incentives.

2. Personal contacts – which affects your finances, insurance, health, education, and the cost of living.

3. Contacts pertaining to Trends – in order to keep track of our changing times, such as general news, politics, fashion and entertainment, status symbols, and your surrounding community where local businesses may be opening or closing.

General web sites are important, but participation in discussion groups and social media are necessary for monitoring the pulse on specific subjects. Yes, the Internet is a vital source of information but do not overlook the power of participating in trade groups or nonprofit organizations where you can also network, monitor trends, and learn of opportunities.

The point is, the print media is passé, and television and radio are not far behind as they are not properly preparing their audiences for the future. Aside from the weather and traffic, their product is the past, not the future. Now it’s the Internet and face-to-face networking which is vital for you to harvest the intelligence you need to survive in today’s challenging world.

Somehow I am reminded of the late great baseball player Satchel Paige who advised, “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 7:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2011 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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