Let’s Go Negative
OK, this might seem weird, but one of the things that often leads to colossal business mistakes is unrelenting optimism.
I mean, if you're going to be an entrepreneur you pretty much need to be an optimist… you need to have the belief that you can create something out of nothing – because that's what we all do pretty much every day. And above all else, you need to protect your confidence (and you need to avoid poisoning your brain).
But you have to be careful… because that optimism can get you in trouble.
And this ESPECIALLY true when you get a bunch of entrepreneurs together… say in a mastermind group or a team meeting.
Lots of times, when you get a group like that together, there's some subtle pressure for everyone to be super positive… after all, you don't want the other people thinking you forgot to listen to your “positive thinking” audios, or that don't have a “can do” attitude, or that you're a buzz kill.
But all that optimism can be dangerous…
Here's why… there might not be such a thing as a bad idea when you're brainstorming… but when it comes to BUSINESS there are PLENTY of bad ideas.
Your plans have to be realistic. Your research has to be realistic. Your offer has to be realistic. Your prices have to be realistic. And you have to avoid obstacles, road blocks, and potential negative outcomes for your plan.
You don't win at business just by having a positive attitude. You need a strong, realistic plan… and you need strong execution.
(Dwight D. Eisenhower said: “Plans are useless; planning is everything.”)
One of the tools that I use in my planning is something called a “Strategy Circle”… I learned this technique from my business coach Dan Sullivan…
Basically, you start off with an idea for a project and then the FIRST thing you do is brainstorm all the OBSTACLES for that project.
That might sound strange, but the cool thing about looking at obstacles first is it legitimizes looking at the negatives… so you avoid the “sticking your head in the sand” syndrome. You avoid blind optimism.
When you list all the obstacles, keep pushing until you have a BUNCH of potential obstacles – aim for ten or more of them.
The next step is to brainstorm STRATEGIES for dealing with EACH obstacle.
After that, move on to the RESULTS you will see from the project – basically at this point you're building up the “why” behind the project – why should you overcome those obstacles and complete this project.
This “Strategy Circle” approach is a great tool to use by yourself, and it's even better to use with your team. It sounds simple, but it's super-effective. Give it a try.
(Strategy Circle is a trademark of Strategic Coach.)