When you consider your products and processes, there are a series of questions that will help you gain clarity and even stretch your thinking. Play with the following questions without having pre-conceived notions.
At the very least, you’ll begin to think differently which may help you get to where you eventually want to go. These questions help you organize your known knowledge and execution ideas, but will take you further into thinking “How can we approach this very differently?”
- If there were no constraints, what would remarkable look like? What would just outrageous success look like in what you’re trying to do with your top three to five goals?
- What’s the 20% that provides 80% of the value? This comes from the Pareto principle, the 80-20 rule that we’re all familiar with. It drills down to, “As I think back on what I’ve done and what I need to do, where is the 20% that really is going to provide the most leverage to move things forward for us?”
- What if we had to scale up our work by 10 times or we had to shrink it by 10 times? For example, let’s say I am trying to write 500 words a day, but I had opportunity to be part of a project that would require 5000 words a day for a month to meet a deadline. What would that look like? What would I have to do differently? Block off more time? Or perhaps ask someone else to help with the writing? Asking someone else to help would be “out of the box” thinking—but something that could and should be considered if my work scaled that much.
- What would make this ridiculously easy to do? Really think about ways to cut the stress for this project. For example, if I’m going to teach a class, do I really need to have elaborate slides? Or would some clean, easy-to-read key thoughts be enough? Also ask, “What would make it just ridiculously easy for other people to do this?” Other people may be more inclined to adopt an idea if I make the process very easy and lay it out in bullet point format, and make my expectations realistic.
- What could be the absolute simplest, and fastest way to do it? We may have contrived an extremely wonderful and elegant solution, but what would be absolutely the easiest and the quickest way to do it? I’ve heard some friends say, “What’s the fastest path to the cash?” The whole idea here is “What’s the simplest solution? (You’ll often hear that in the software or startup world.) What’s the very easiest thing you could implement right away that would deliver value to people?
Another way this is described is by using the term: “minimum viable product.” What’s the thing that you can at least initially present to people that they can receive value almost immediately? For example, can you produce a helpful ebook initially, then if there is interest expand the manuscript into a paperback book?
So, having played with these questions and hopefully sharing your thinking with others, what new ways could you approach the action plans for your goals?