We consultants are used to giving out objective advice, helping clients and prospects. But most of us don't do a great job doing the same for our own business.
I wrote about the importance of journaling and self-distancing here, a couple of weeks ago. It changes our perspective - zooming out and looking at our situation as a detached observer - helping us be more effective partners/founders. Today I want to share another powerful technique to do that.
Andy Grove was a brilliant executive who transformed Intel - from a manufacturer of memory chips into the world's leading producer of microprocessors for computing. He was the first employee to join the company, but his leadership abilities were only recognized by outsiders when he led Intel as CEO, in the late 80s / early 90s.
Among his many ideas, there's a famous technique Andy used for making business decisions:
"If I were replaced tomorrow, what would my successor do?"
While this was applied in a corporate setting, I believe this is also a powerful question for those of us leading independent consulting firms and practices. If someone took over your business today, what would they do?
- Would they make changes to how you market and sell your services?
- Would they make changes to how you deliver projects and value to clients?
- Would they make changes to your team? Which gap skills they would try to fill, and which assets they would be interested in creating?
We're so close to our own work that sometimes we refuse to see (or at least refuse to act on) the obvious improvements right in front of us.
Take 10 minutes today to list answers for that question, and add at least one new initiative or project to your quarterly goals. Your firm and clients will thank you later.
(Unrelated: Andy's book "High output management" is in my top reading recommendations for managers and management consultants. If you haven't yet, grab a copy of it.)