Practice “Double It” Thinking to Grow Your Business

If you want to grow your business or organization significantly faster you have to learn to think differently. In other words, if you grew at 7.7% last year, chances are you’ll grow at the same rate or lower, unless something significantly changes. This is one of the reasons why I love Nicholas Negroponte’s line,

“Incrementalism is innovation’s greatest enemy.”

Small incremental changes rarely lead to any significant breakthroughs. Doing more of the same, “Just a little bit better,” rarely sets the world on fire. So, how do you get out of this rut?

Well, one way is to come up with a mental construct that forces you to think differently–at a much higher level. And one of those constructs is to practice what I like to call, “The Double It Game.”

There are a number of different ways to play this game. For example,

1. Let’s say you want to grow by 20% this year. Instead of thinking about how to grow by 20%, “Double It” and figure out how to grow by 40%.

2. Or let’s say you’re a $3M company. Instead of planning for 20% growth this year, why not double your annual revenue and ask the question, “What if we were a $6M company?”

3. Or, let’s say your sales reps are closing 50 deals a month. Instead of thinking, “How can we get them to close 60 deals a month?” why not “Double It” and ask, “How can we help them get to 100 sales per month?”

You can play the “Double It” game with a whole variety of different areas in your business. However, the point of this exercise isn’t to suggest that your budget or sales per rep or annual revenues should be double. In fact, it’s usually wiser to be a little conservative on budget numbers and projections. The point of the exercise is to force you to think differently–and in the process discover some ideas that might radically accelerate the growth of your business.

For example, when you play this Double It game, chances are you’ll discover things like

•    As a leader, your job will have to change and you’ll probably need to delegate out a lot more
•    You’ll probably need to invest more in staff training
•    You’ll probably force yourself to realize there are some staff you need to let go of now
•    You probably have some staff whom you’ll need to transition out over the next year
•    You’ll need to recruit some better talent (and spend more time working on your virtual bench)
•    Your business model may need to change (you may even discover you’re in the wrong business to scale that quickly)
•    Your sales process will need to change
•    You’ll need to add some new product and service lines (while killing others).
•    You’ll probably need to invest more in R&D (or acquisitions)
•    You’ll need to open up some new markets (and bring in new people who can do that)
•    You’ll probably need to either store some cash or acquire some new capital in order to expand faster
•    Etc.

At twice your size or at twice your growth rate, almost everything has to change. Drucker used to say that every time an organization grows by 45%, it has to change its organizational structure. At a Double It rate, that means every year, everything will probably have to change. So, what would that look like? That is the heart of the “Double It” question.

So what would your business (or organization) look like if it were twice as large at the end of this year (as it is in the beginning)?  What would be different about you and your role? Your staff? Your management? Your operations? Your marketing and sales? Your cash flow? Etc. Sounds like a fun question to ponder, doesn’t it? It is! So, go to it. Your future awaits!

To your accelerated success!

P.S. After you do some of your own thinking, I think this question makes another great top team discussion question. In fact, why don’t you put it on the agenda of your next staff meeting?

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