Have you ever been distracted by the plank in your eye? What about the fly stuck your ointment?
I have. And so has every business owner I know! We all need tools that both highlight our blind spots and assist us work around them.
To take action, we all benefit from the catalyzing effects of clarity and simplicity.
I had a BFO last Wednesday. Facilitating the TiE Rockies Entrepreneurial Roundtable (click for upcoming offerings), I discovered firsthand why a Crankset Group tool–the Bottleneck Exercise–works so effectively to highlight a business owner’s blind spot and allow us to truly take the next step.
Our bottleneck exercise reflects some principles from James Surowiecki’s book, Wisdom of Crowds. He explains four factors that contribute to the surprising power of the “wisdom of crowds”:
- Diversity (vs. homogeneity) of opinion: Groups that have greater diversity—not just the ‘crème de la crème’ but also “the least of these”—produce clearer wisdom. Crankset Group 3to5 Clubs utilize the bottleneck protocol with up to 24 members from different industries and different stages of business maturity so that there can be a great diversity of background, perspective, and insight.
- Independence (vs. centralization) of opinion: This past Wednesday , TiE members and friends each spoke the truth from where they sat. No one but the person in the “hot seat” is responsible for synthesizing and acting upon what s/he hears.
- Specialization (vs. conformity) of opinion: Each person comes from a different business, a different industry and a different stage of business maturity. There is less chance for group-think than with a panel of “experts.”
- “Secret sauce” (vs. emotionality) of action: The person in the hot seat is responsible for making sense of the input; “accountability” comes from member reports of the results from taking input from the club. In 3to5 Clubs, members are asked what they did with the information they gained from the Bottleneck exercise. In a similar vein, I encouraged Wednesday’s Round table participants to write or call me in two weeks and let me know how they benefited.
For a group that had little exposure to the Bottleneck tool, they utilized it with aplomb! We heard people address issues as diverse as:
- Contemplating the steps required for exiting (closing) a business
- Clarifying the market for a two-month-old start-up
- Making sense the necessary aspects of handling a “schizophrenic” and “stagnating” product line
- Finding an ideal client
The wisdom of crowds came into play! It was delightful to see how everyone contributed to someone’s BFO.
Thanks to those who came, shared their BFOs and were part of one another’s BFOs!
I like to challenge business owners to consider the one thing (not two or more!) that would take their business to the next level.
Consider: What is that one thing for your firm?
Share with us in the Comments below: what makes it so hard to prioritize in order to focus on that one thing?