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The Magic Of Thinking Pt. 4
This episode is sponsored by Digital Footprint. If you have not been to the DigitalFootprint.net, then I don’t know what to say. Check out the video at the bottom of the page. If you’re not already starting to build your business around that, shame on you. This is episode 249 of The Magic of Thinking Big part four. Part one, think small, get a block of time, and start thinking big. Step two, determine what you want. There are three to five elements that go into that. Step three, work your massive challenge, massive opportunity backward in a specific, logical manner. I covered that on the last episode.
Step four, this is by far my favorite part. This step, which is called skip the obvious next step, has made our company so much money. There’s no question, this is a major reason why we got word that we hit the Inc. 5000 list for the fourth time. Most companies will never touch it the first time, but we’ve been able to maintain ridiculous growth even though we’re in year 25. One of the reasons we can maintain silly growth is because we are conditioned to skip the obvious next step. Let me explain this to you. You’ve sat down, you blocked out some time, and you’ve come up with a BHAG, a Big Hairy Ass Goal. You’re scared. You’re like, “I’m afraid to tell people this goal. I’m going to look stupid.” It’s big, but you did it anyway.
Obstacles are going to happen, but you need to assume you’re going to get over it. Click To Tweet
You understand the psychology behind why you need to get a BHAG. You’ve come up with a why to the point where it makes you cry, so you know you need to do it. Now you need to know mechanically how we truly bite this elephant one at a time where we don’t get bogged down into the whole hone, day-to-day operations of the business. What truly keeps you moving? Here it is. It’s the same thing that truly kept us moving for 25 years and why we truly get these amazing letters from Inc. Magazine where we are hitting this list four times.
Here’s how it goes. Walter Payton, in the late ‘70s and ‘80s, was a running back for the Chicago Bears. If you know anything at all about football, when the quarterback hands the football to the running back, the running back’s job is to get past eleven defenders and get to the end zone. The eleven defenders have one job, it’s to bring that guy to the ground. The first people in front of Walter Payton are the defensive linemen, the second layer is the linebackers, and the third layer is the defensive backs and the safeties.
I’ll never forget an early 1980s interview with Walter Payton. I was a running back in high school and they were interviewing him and they said, “Walter, you have more yards in the history of the NFL than anybody else. Can you give us one thing that you think played the biggest role in you becoming the NFL’s rushing leader and most yards in a career than all the other running backs that came before you?” He goes, “It’s simple. I always assume I’m going to juke the defensive linemen and the linebackers. I focus all of my vision and energy on the defensive backs, which are fifteen to twenty yards downfield.”
I want to put this in perspective in business. In business, there’s this thing called the Law of Entropy, which is the world’s way of putting all these roadblocks in front of you. “You’re out of money, can’t do it. You’re out of manpower, your main person just quit, can’t do it. Your twelve-year veteran sales rep just left to start his own company, you’re done.” All these temporary defensive linemen linebackers are put in front of you. Your job as a business owner and as an entrepreneur is to assume all that crap is going to happen because it happens to every other business owner also.
You need to assume crap’s going to happen, obstacles are going to happen, but you also need to assume you’re going to get over it. You’re going to get over that lack of money, you did before. You’re going to get over that employee quitting, you did before. You’re going to get over that friend of yours that is now rebelling against you in something, you did before. What do I mean by that? Did you before? You’ve never been in that position before, but every other obstacle in your life you ended up overcoming it, did you not?
Let’s presuppose that you’ve worked your BHAG goal backward. You now know the logical next step is this. You even know the next step after that is this. Why don’t you do what very few entrepreneurs know to do? Why don’t you assume you’re already going to get past that next step? You’re already going to close that next big deal. You’re already going to add that next key talent. You’re already going to get that line of credit or that big loan or whatever. Why don’t you assume the thing that you’re currently chasing down is going to happen anyway? What’s next?
If you got that next step, but when you’re chasing an increase in 20% revenues the next six day, then what? Assume you’ve got it. What next? “Ken, it would take me so much energy to get there. I don’t want to think ahead of myself.” Yes, you do. Conventional wisdom says, “Don’t think that far ahead. Focus right now. Put everything you got. Set a goal and hit it. Throw that in the toilet. Set a goal. Assume you’re going to hit it. Hit it anyway.” Now, think of the next step. Ready? Here it is. Skip the obvious next step. Most people put all their energy into the next step. I’ll give you a great example.
Many moons ago, 33 decades, UPS and USPS, the United States Post Office, were in a battle like never before. It was called Super-Duper Service. One of them said, “I’m going to go from a guaranteed three-day delivery. I’m going to go to two-day delivery.” A couple of years later, the other company said, “Two-day delivery? Guess what? I’m going to go to next-day delivery.” About a year later, somebody said, “Next day delivery, guess what? I’m going to same-day delivery. You get it to me by 9:00 AM, I’ll have it to you by 5:00 PM.” Somebody upped the game. Something about, “You get it to me by 7:00 AM. I’ll have it at your office on the other side of the country by 1:00 PM.” They keep upping the game. What if one of them 25 years ago would have said, “You know what? I’m going to skip that next step.” What if they would have gone from three-day service to same-day service?
Set a goal and assume you’re going to hit it. Click To Tweet
Back in the day in the ‘80s and ‘70s, that would be inconceivable. They were all focused on the next layer of Super-Duper Service. What I’m telling you is you go into these massive companies, Google, Apple, Uber, Oracle, all these incredible growth companies, they’re all not next step thinkers. They skipped the next step. They skipped the next step after that. They’re on three steps down the road. Some of the greatest, biggest, baddest companies in the world are on research and development four steps down the road.
They assume like Walter Payton. They’re going to juke the defensive linemen. They’re going to duke the linebacker. Their eyeballs are physically on the defensive back. What are the challenges assuming we hit the next step and we hit the next step, what is it after that? There is no question in our 25-year career at Income Store, TGC, and every other company we’ve owned. For my first five years for sure, we were focused on strictly the next step. I very much matured with my wife step-by-step that we need to be next step avoiders and skip the obvious next step and focus two to three steps ahead.
Here’s how it goes. Every time you have gone to the next step in your life or an obstacle, correct me if I’m wrong, you’re still breathing. You’re on the right side of the grass. You’ve overcome every hurdle, every next step that has ever been thrown in front of you. I want you to immediately assume you’re going to achieve the next goal. You’re going to get it over the current hurdle because you’ve always done it your whole life. You’ve been built to. Skip the obvious next step. Go one or two more steps up that mountain because you’ve already built the mountain. You worked your mountain backward. You already know what is the next step after this step? You already know. Go after that. As a matter of fact, why don’t you go after the next one, too?
Why? If you don’t do this and you focus on the current step, the current hurdle, the current thing in front of you, the current goal, part of the problem is you’re going to achieve it. What do most people do? What do most companies do? They shut down. They have a little hallelujah party. “We achieved the goal. Let’s have a party. Let’s get out the champagne.” They shut things down. They stop. They breathe. They gather themselves. They lose all momentum to have a mini five-minute party and then they start the engines up again. I want you to picture a locomotive starting and stopping. Wouldn’t it be easier to high-five the next stop? Stick your arm out the window of the locomotive. Don’t slow that freaking machine down. You’re going to pass that hurdle anyway. Keep the train running. Assume you’re going to hit the next step and then build the plan two steps in advance. The train never stops chugging.
Jack Welch stepped in at GE Capital. They had two mechanisms producing $4 billion. He left twelve years later, fourteen different mechanisms, and twelve completely new mechanisms. Now they’re at a $40 some odd billion market cap. He never once slowed those first two trains down to congratulate himself. It was just crank it, crank it, never stop, add more, and add more. He just kept going. This is episode 249. This is called Skip the Obvious Next Step: How to Achieve Big Hairy Goals. I hope this helps. Take care.