The newsletters of Adam Hartung. 

January 2016

by | Jan 20, 2016 | 0 comments

Happy New Year! Untitled-2

Here’s hoping you had a restful and pleasant holiday season, and you are recharged for completing the flurry of activity that typically begins every new year.

What we once considered the safest of investments – real estate – did a 180 in the first decade of the 2000’s.  Bonds lost all value as interest rates fell to zero.  And although the stock market climbed a world of worry from 2008 to 2014, 2015 ended negatively and 2016 started with the worst 4 day record in history!  Given stock market events in December and January, many readers are confused about where they should invest – or if they should invest at all!

In 2014, on the David Feldman radio program, he asked me to describe if, and why, small investors should even consider owning equities. He championed the idea, often expressed by non-investors, that equity markets are rigged against the small investor — and, to some extent, against all but institutional investors.

I helped explain the difference between indexes and “the market” and then suggested a way even the smallest investors could take advantage of indexes (like Exchange Traded Funds [ETFs]) to help minimize risk and maximize returns.  Investing is not trading, and even small investors can do quite well if they insist on long-term horizons and smartly use the right index funds.  Nobody can predict the stock market for 2016, but I remain a believer in long-term investing, and you might enjoy hearing my recommendations via this link to those two interviews.

As for your business plans in 2016, trends are the bedrock of good plans.  Ignoring trends leads to blind spots and failures addressing emerging competitors, alternative solutions and disruptive technologies.  I always recommend “setting the stage” for all planning with a discussion of important trends to put perspective on new, and even historical, ideas.  Trend analysis is the best way to forecast target markets so your organization can head “…to where the puck will be…” (hat tip to Wayne Gretzky – after all, it is hockey season! Go Hawks!)

When traveling this holiday we ventured to several new destinations.  In order to gain perspective and recognize both the history and opportunities, we used local guides that helped us make sense of what seemed unusual – and sometimes mindboggling – to us.  Many of you may benefit from a consultant “guide” who can help you recognize trends, describe their history and forecast their future.  This is some of the most interesting, and beneficial, work I do with clients every year.  Because I live “outside the box” I am able to bring insights to the forefront that enlighten the planning process and avoid planning on a status quo future when the world is actually far more dynamic. For more on how this works I’ve created a “how to” that you can adapt for your team in my Status Quo Risk Management Playbook.

In 2016, it is more important than ever that everyone identify how they have locked-in on outdated assumptions about their firm and competition, then incorporate fast moving trends into future plans. If you’d like some help making your future plans more dynamic, and leading to better results, let’s discuss how I and my colleagues can help you prepare for business in 2020, rather than plan based on a return to 2010.  Remember…..

“Plan for what you don’t know, rather than what you do.”

Create Marketplace Disruption: How to Stay Ahead of the Competition


forbes blog

Three Leadership Lessons From Tree Climbing Goats

A Christmas Carol 2015 – The Ebenezer 1% and Cratchit Middle Class

5 Leadership Lessons from 2015’s Business Headlinesstaytuned

Stay tuned, next month I’ll review how we incorporate “risk avoidance” into the Playbook, and discuss some of my recent international presentations.