How to get your team thinking 10x

We recently completed our Fiscal Year End review and planning meetings for two of our businesses at Thermo King Western. This is a time of year where it is a grind for a lot of our team members, dealing with inventory counts and preparation for auditors. Along with the busy also comes a sense of relief and rejeuvination from the ability to hit the reset button, reevaluate priorities and start fresh for an exciting year ahead. 

Shortly after our year end comes our planning meetings for the year ahead. And this year, we tried a slightly new approach in our planning, which I wanted to share. This post is about the 10x vision exercise completed by our teams.

There is a lot of buzz in the business community these days about 10x growth. The idea of going exponential is creating mythic case studies covering the likes of Uber, Airbnb, Netflix and Instagram to name a few. The idea is a compelling one. But what does it mean when you take this concept and turn the lens on yourself and your organization? 

Looking back

In our strategic meetings this year, we did just that. Using part of Dan Sullivan’s framework, we turned back the clock and documented all of the key changes in our past that lead to our last 10x growth spurt. For example, if your company currently does $1m in annual revenue, what were the changes that occurred that drove your business from $100k, and how long did that take? 

This first exercise gives you the confidence and realization that going 10x is something that you have already done. Where people and organizations classically get stuck however, and why this exercise is important, is that it forces you to recognize what got you here is not what will get you there.

Looking forward

Now comes the fun and challenging exercise of imagining out into the future. Each one of us had 10 minutes to write down a future date, and describe the key changes that took place, leading to our next 10x growth spurt. We then had to go around the room one by one, describing those changes in detail as if they had already happened. This is easier said than done, as we had to frequently correct eachother’s grammatical tense, and question their certainty on details in their stories. 

However at the end of all of this, we had a compelling (and sobering) picture of what would be required in order to make the next leap. 

What happens next? 

Now that we have our vision of the future documented, comes the real work. Reverse engineering our big vision is where the rubber will meet the road, but having time traveled through this initial exercise, our team has the belief that it is totally possible – and after this exercise, I believe we have completed our first step of many on this exciting journey. 

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