A preoccupation with the past or present is a constant danger for any small-business owner. It shuts down possibilities for creativity and effectiveness, and it traps employees into discussing things that can’t be changed. Moving a discussion out of the past or present into the future is a simple, powerful leadership tool. In fact, just by saying, "Let’s look ahead. How do we get from where we are today to where we want to be tomorrow?" a small-business owner can turn a dead-end meeting into a highly productive discussion. When you notice a conversation has become unproductive, take the initiative to move things forward. When you do this, you will orient yourself and your people in the most positive way possible.