Future Version of People

See the future version of people, and determine how you can help them achieve that version.

Have you ever had an experience where a teammate shares some professional news that changes the way that you perceive them? Maybe they're heading to a new company, or leaving to found one. Or going to travel the world. Or write a book. Something you didn't expect.

It's easy to get used to the status quo — to assume the people around you are going to be doing what they're doing for...well, ever. That's obviously not the case, but when you see them in the same role, or the same meeting, day-after-day, it's easy to slip in to that mindset.

There's a small mental shift I've come across that has changed the way I think about working on teams, managing people, and mentoring others.

I've started to assume that the person that I'm working with are on the brink of being the best at what they do. I try to see the future version of people.

For people I'm close with, I ask what that means for them. But even for folks that you work with tangentially, you can still see their future versions. If they're a PM/engineer/design, imagine in a few years they'll have built wildly successful products. If they're an marketer or sales, they may be a CMO at a Fortune500 company or end the year as the top sales rep.

Why is this helpful?

I've been lucky work with a really talented teams, so this assumption is often actually the case. But even if it turns out not to be the case, everyone's better off when you give people the benefit of the doubt.

See the future version of people, and see what you can do to help them get there.