An exercise to stimulate a different kind of thinking.
Henry Ford is credited with one of my favourite quotes:
Whether you think you can or you cant, you’re right.
looking back over my own experiences this is such an accurate statement and points to the fact that usually, the biggest limitations exist in our own heads.
I co-founded Nona in 2012 as essentially a side hustle to my main business at the time. We were building WordPress websites for a few hundred dollars a pop.
Today Nona is a 30 person business building software products for some of the worlds’ leading companies and startups and we are just hitting our stride.
If you had told me when we started Nona that we would get it to where it is today I would have laughed at you. I would have laughed at you because of my own negative self talk and because my thinking was too small at the time. This exercise is an exercise in thinking bigger, without limitations.
Most of us over-estimate what we can do in a short space of time but under-estimate what we can do in a long period of time.”
Here is a very simple but very effective exercise that you can do with your leadership team to begin to break the normal mould of thinking.
We have just added it to our quarterly planning process and the effect was better than I had anticipated (which is why I am sharing it).
With all that said, here it is:
Set aside 45 minutes.
Begin by setting the mental stage on what your current expected performance is likely to be over the next 12 months. Don’t get too bogged down if you don’t have this down to an accurate prediction, the point here is to set a reasonable target which is used for comparison. This could be revenue / profit / items sold / hourly rate achieved, whatever works for your specific business and purpose.
For this example I’ll use revenue as the measurement.
- Past 12 months actual revenue was $1m with a 10% profit.
- We reasonably expect that over the next 12 months we will do $1.15m revenue with a 10% profit.
Once this is agreed on broadly (again don’t get bogged down by the detail) you move on to the next step.
Brief your team.
If your life literally depended on doubling revenue from where it is now, how would you do it?
Remove all constraints of ‘sensible’ thinking and encourage knee-jerk answers.
Don’t allow the over analytical people on your team to ask too many clarifying questions, the idea here is free thinking without the constraints.
Divide your team up.
Now that the brief is clear, break the groups up into as close to groups of 2 as possible and set a timer for 15 minutes after which each group is to come back with their top 3 things that they would do to double revenue if their life literally depended on it.
Review the results together.
Once you have the results back, the chances are that there will be a few ideas that have bubbled up and that are worth discussing during the remainder of your leadership meeting.
And that’s it.
The value here is not just in the ideas that might bubble up. Even if no worthwhile ideas come out of this process, the process itself is a useful break from an intense strategy session or offsite.
If you are still reading this, the chances are that you are actually going to give this a try so I will wish you good luck!
I would love to hear how it goes for you and your team.
I am the CEO and co-founder of Nona. We work with funded businesses to accelerate their software projects.