Google searches for the keyword “downturn” have quintupled since the GFC in 2008 as the seen and unforeseen consequences of the worldwide crisis continue to reverberate through every sector of government, business and finance.
This is no surprise. Still, a decade later, the uncertainty of global finances mitigates a world of tight business budgets and reinvestment is timid.
Two of the biggest business costs, the biggest budget chunks, are always: payroll + marketing.
For CEOs, two of the biggest returns need to be:
1. return on payroll, and
2. return on marketing.
To survive harsh economic conditions and grow their business, senior management are focusing on payroll optimisation and marketing optimisation.
School of Thinking is helping clients with tight budgets to become leaders of change and focus attention on better ways:
1. to create more profit out of their monthly payroll expense, and
2. to harvest more sales revenues from their marketing investment.
My mentor, Professor George Gallup, was acknowledged worldwide as one of the greatest leaders of change. George was also a wonderful American gentleman and a very nice man. He was 84 when he died at his summer place in Switzerland in 1984.
He was the inventor of the Gallup Poll at Princeton and the designer of market research. He was the first to map the human meme pool.
In the early sixties George wrote about his disappointing experience with many leaders and their poor ability to manage change. Most leaders have a strong disincentive to change due to their significant investment in the status quo. Often, it’s just not intelligent behaviour for leaders to champion change, regardless of how much rhetoric is squandered on the topic.
He observed that genuine change is more likely to come from the bottom-up than to be led from the top-down. Even a brief glance at history supports George’s observations.
George Gallup’s great personal wisdom was supported by his long experience of measuring, in scientific detail, the opinions of more people around the world than anyone else in history. In The Miracle Ahead he wrote that:
Change cannot be brought about easily by leaders, except in those situations in which the changes advocated do not disturb present relationships. In fact, it is the leaders who typically become the most bitter and the most effective foes of change. The public, therefore, must take the initiative and assume responsibility for progress in the affairs of man. The public must force change upon its leaders (who) command more respect today than perhaps they deserve… The leader is expert in his small world as it presently exists, not expert in the world as it might be. Although he plays an important role in modern society, it is not realistic to expect him to advocate change. This is the surest way for him to lose his status … The hope of the future rests with the citizen. To be effective, he must be well informed, and he must discover ways of making better use of his own great capacities and those of his fellow man. He cannot expect his leaders to give him much help in his upward march.
MORE GALLUP LINKS:
Tenpower: the deliberate use of the powers of ten
Since the early seventies I have been working with people around the world to help them grow their own business or career much faster. That is, presumably, much faster than it would have grown without my help. Where I have been able to help it’s been to get management to embrace change by focusing on their company’s cognitive assets. To get them to change their own habits of thinking and to harness the vast untapped potential of the brainpower of their enterprise. And, to try to get them to escape from the status quo and use the X10 cognitive provocation: “whatever your business is now, multiply it by ten”.
In theory, X10 is simple enough to do because you just add a zero. But, I have to report my own disappointment in the willingness of many business leaders to seriously test X10 as a way of managing change.
In practise, it has been much more difficult to get business leaders to try it out because, to many minds, it has seemed so preposterous or just too simplistic. Although a minority of senior managers have done exceedingly well with X10, the majority have had difficulty getting their head around the X10 idea.
Instead of testing X10, some instantly dismiss it as a simplistic, Pollyannish, positive thinking gimmick. In most cases, however, they are simply trapped in the old-fashioned pyramid structure where the bosses at the top of the pyramid do all the thinking and the bottom-dwellers just do what they’re told. These leaders remain oblivious to the immense X10 opportunity that is, in fact, the bottom of the iceberg of their intellectual capital.
Meanwhile, as the hi-growth companies are leaping ahead by utilising all their human assets to take care of business, many of these old-fashioned business leaders stay trapped on a steamship to nowhere. They cannot change and so their customers, their employees and their shareholders are sadly being left behind.
Because business is about survival it must, by definition, be about change. Furthermore, because business is also about growth it must be about continuous change.
It’s not so much about protecting the past as it is about designing the future. This is why logical thinking, by itself, is so inadequate for business strategy. We have to provoke ourselves to escape from the logic of the past. The gravity of traditional thinking can be so strong, especially within the cloisters of the executive suite, that a very powerful escape mechanism is required.
X10 is such a mechanism. Like the huge twin boosters on the space shuttle that power it out of the earth’s grip, X10 provides corporate strategy with the powerful provocation it needs to escape its rigid past patterns of thinking and of growth.
The X10 or 10x or ‘multiply by ten’ strategy is not simplistic nor mere positive thinking but is a serious strategy for provoking continuous change and has a scientific base. It’s simplicity of design is memetically important for its effectiveness. It enables you to use X10 as your corporate mission statement.
As a meme that sits in the brain, 10x can be easily replicated from brain to brain throughout the enterprise.
The ‘powers of ten’ strategy is provocative, incredible and difficult for people to accept … at first! This cognitive dissonance is intentional. For those that persist, the dissonance disappears and they change the way they think. They come to use the Tenpower strategy as a natural part of their daily thinking. Soon it becomes reasonable, believable and easy to use. At which point they have an unfair advantage over their competitors who have not internalised the strategy.
— TIP: Take a few minutes to see the short but extraordinary movie that first got me going on x10 thirty years ago …
DFQ TD10 (Feedback Question):
How can you multiply YOUR business or career by ten?