Smithsonian Magazine, which by the way, is one of my favorite reads, had an article a few years back that looked at the year 1908.
It was an exciting time. America was the land of infinite possibilities. It would seem the only thing that held anyone back was the reach of their imagination.
Adm. Robert Peary conquered the North Pole. There was an auto race from New York City to Paris (over the frozen Bering Strait). A president was elected. Perhaps the two most significant things? Powered flight went from seconds to hours, truly opening the door to the heavens. And Henry Ford brought the price of the automobile down from thousands of dollars to $850, thus truly creating the beginnings of mass transit.
It seemed a time where anything was possible.
But let’s go back even further. The article talks about an essay that compared 1908 with 1808 and showed how far the country had come in a century. In 1808, the country was five years removed from the Louisiana Purchase and just 24 months after Lewis & Clark wrapped up their historic transcontinental jaunt.
And now, here we are in 2020.
So what, you may be wondering, does all this have to do with management?
America is the nation that is literally defined by infinite possibilities. Just 110 or so years ago Americans were amazed at the progress made in that previous century. And today, we’re in awe at the goings on from then to now.
Although management can be defined as getting results through others, it’s also very much about helping clear out roadblocks so those results can be achieved. Taking a step up, management is even more about opening not just the door to possibilities, but opening minds.
For if those under you can’t see it, they’ll truly struggle to achieve it. Doesn’t mean they can’t, just that it won’t be as easy.
And that brings us to the real question this week, what’s in store for the next 100 years? Whatever it is, it won’t happen in the ninth decade. The seeds for this century are being sown now. If your job is just to make widgets, then think about what those widgets will be like in 100 years. If your job is to lead change, think about what changes are needed for long-term business health.
We are indeed the land where almost anything is possible. We didn’t get that way by being shy, by sitting back or by following others. We got that way because we want to be first, we want to invent and create.
I can’t think of a more fun enjoyable way to be.
What will 2120 be like? Let’s start finding out.

Next week: More to come.

Business Playbook is written by Tim Timmons. Timmons’ book, Coaching Success: Creating Champions for the Business World is available at