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What’s Your North Star? | Issue #245

How to write a powerful BHAG for your business

Ever feel like you need an interpreter? Acronyms are everywhere in business. They’ve become a language in their own right, particularly in the Scaling Up arena! The buzzwords, phrases and abbreviations can be baffling, and it’s easy to get cynical. But some of them are valuable. My favourite is the BHAG® – short for Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal.

This is all about the direction of travel, and it’s vital to any business that wants to grow. Why? Because without it, you’re likely to get steered off course by the everyday ‘busy-ness’ of working life. Not forgetting the twists and turns of client demands. Your business needs a BHAG® to act as a North Star, guiding it forever forward in the right direction.

E250 | From Failure To Success: Getting Innovation Right with Alex Osterwalder

How do you manage your metrics around innovation? How much investment do you need to put into innovation as a mature business? How do you give people the time and structure needed to innovate in your business? This week we asked one of the most influential strategy and innovation experts to come back to The Melting Pot to answer these and some other questions about innovation. 

Founder and CEO of Strategyzer, Alex Osterwalder reckons that seven out of ten projects that you start within your business need to be killed. And maybe one in ten of your innovation projects is a go, but you’re going to need to build a portfolio of maybe 50 live projects that are at any one time to get enough innovation going in your business to make a material change, to get a return on your investment. He also introduced us to the concept of AKIs (Aspirations and Key Insights) – as opposed to Objectives and Key Results – for innovation teams not to produce results, but key insights to understand whether they should kill, iterate or scale a product.

Fantastic conversation with Alex. If you’re in the innovation arena, this is a must-listen for you. 

Christopher Lochhead Follow Your Different™

Christopher Lochhead Follow Your Different™ Podcast is a celebration of people, ideas and companies that stand out. A leader in the category “dialogue podcasts,” it feels like eavesdropping on a surprisingly captivating, candid, insightful, no-BS and conversation. Lochhead features legends whose names you will know and everyday legends who you’ll love getting to know.

The Peak-End Effect: How To Make a Lasting Impression (Even After Failures)

n 1993, Daniel Kahneman and Barbara Fredrickson realized our minds don’t form memories by taking the average joy (or pain) we get from the experience. Instead, they use the emotional peaks and the end as a shortcut. Great article with tips to apply this theorem in business. 

How to move the needle on innovation

So how can leaders move the innovation needle in big companies? Here is a list of ways to make your company more innovative.

To Build a Top Performing Team, Ask for 85% Effort

An outdated way of thinking about peak performance is: “maximum effort = maximum results.” But research shows that it doesn’t actually work that way in reality. Here’s what actually works: The 85% rule, which counterintuitively suggests that to reach maximum output, you need to refrain from giving maximum effort. Operating at 100% effort all of the time will result in burnout and ultimately less-optimal results.

The Innovation Tournament Handbookddd

What new products or services should you launch next year? How can you improve the productivity of a paint line? What should you name your new venture? How can you decrease patient waiting times? How can you improve the customer experience? Pretty much any creative problem-solving task can be framed as seeking a new match between solution and need, from operational process improvements to creating strategies to foster organic growth. Innovation tournaments aim to find a match that is not just good, but exceptional. Leveraging more than two decades of experience organizing innovation tournaments in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street, from Buenos Aires to Kuwait City, Shanghai to Moscow, and with many Fortune 500 companies, two renowned researchers, entrepreneurs, and the foremost experts on innovation tournaments offer a template that you can use to generate winning ideas that will drive great outcomes―whatever your challenges, whatever your business.

Quote of the week

“Remain focused on fulfilling your business mission. Never allow adversity divert your attention and efforts.”

Richard Branson

Chapter 6. As You Scale, Don’t Specialise Into Functions

Small, multidisciplinary teams are more efficient than larger, single-function departments. Don’t be afraid to shake things up – you could revolutionise your organisation.

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Dominic Monkhouse

Dominic offers business coaching and management development, strategy planning and organisational change, using tried and tested methods to launch your organisation onto an unparalleled growth trajectory. His programme is a function of his broad experience, his deep expertise and a proven process used by over 2,700 firms worldwide.

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    Sign up today and get your copy of F**K PLAN B: How to scale your technology business faster and achieve Plan A, the book that will change your business and your life.

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