“If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.” — Thomas Watson, Founder, IBM
When we learned to ride a bike, we started by failing. Our parents knew we were going to fail. But we thought we could just get on the bike and ride. We had no fear. But once we started to ride, we fell. Our parents then encouraged us. “Good Job!” they would say. And then we would get back up on the bike and do it “less wrong” again and again. Each time, we failed a little less–until we got it right.
But somewhere along the way, we became afraid of failure, even though it is in failure that we learn the most. It’s where we find what really matters to our customers: What features matter to them the most? At what price? Delivered in what manner?
So this week, make a list of the ideas that are exciting to you–but seem a little bit scary. Maybe one that could transform your business. Or serve your customers better. Then pick one to test.
When testing, think bullets before cannonballs. Small and cheap experiments in order to calibrate your bullets. Once you hear a “ping,” it’s time to shoot your cannonball.
To get the maximum benefit from your experiments, it’s best to set up a test plan. Edward Deming called these tests the Plan-Do-Study-Act method. Similarly, Strategizer Inc. has created a testing method that is based on the following four steps:
Step 1: Your Hypothesis
We Believe that _____________________________.
Step 2: Test
To verify, we will ______________________________ (keep these tests crude and low cost).
Step 3: Metric
And measure _________________________________.
Step 4: Criteria
We are right if ________________________________.
You might cycle through this test several times, and each time you should get closer to hearing that satisfying “ping.”
Do you have a Big Strategy?
Our three-minute Big Strategy Assessment is designed to get you thinking. To get your team talking. To begin to answer the question “How do we create better growth?” Take it here and get the conversation going.