IMPOSSIBLE to achieve very ambitious targets UNLESS…?

In the second episode of my “IT IS IMPOSSIBLE … UNLESS?” podcast series, I share two common mistakes made, when we want to make significant improvements in our organizations or our life.

I call these two mistakes, Under-targeting and Overcommitting.

The Mistake of Under-targeting:
Leadership teams and entrepreneurs don’t want to waste their limited attention, and limited budget, on the MANY low leverage changes. They want to focus on those FEW high leverage changes that could lift their organization or company’s performance (or your own life) by 5x or even 10x.

So, why do so many organizations and companies and people just have too MANY change initiatives on the go?

Let’s do a quick thought experiment.

How many ways are there to improve your organization (or your life) by 5% or even 10%? To increase profits, or impact, or to reduce lead times by 5 or even 10% MANY. Right?

So, what will happen if we set too low targets – what I call under-targeting? There is a significant risk that people will come up with MANY change initiatives. And the more, the better. Increasing the risk that they will miss the FEW that could be game changers.

Now think about how many ways there are to improve your organization’s or your own performance by 10x? e,g. making 10x more profit, making 10x more impact, doing it in a 10th of the time? Very FEW. Maybe even only ONE Way. The fewer, the better.

That is why it is so important that we do not under-target. Setting very ambitious targets like 10x, help us to identify the FEW highest leverage opportunities to focus on.

As a side note, for those that missed Episode 1, I shared my simple but powerful way to set and achieve very ambitious targets using my “It’s impossible… unless?” method. E.g. When setting a target, keep on increasing the magnitude or shortening the time until everyone says “Now its Impossible”. And then ask, “It’s impossible …unless?”. The “unless” conditions, if implemented, will make the impossible, possible. This is a simple method that will help you 10x your life and business.

The Mistake of overcommitting
Leaders often turn ambitious targets into commitments. But when they do, it can cause them and/or their teams to overcommit. Overcommitting can cause a vicious cycle of starting too many initiatives, having to report progress and make recovery plans on each when you start falling behind due to multitasking. And all of the progress reporting and recovery plan preparations will consume the limited attention, budget and capacity to actually get the work done; which in turn, will result in further delays and under-delivery… creating pressure to launch even more initiatives…

The goal of a target is to inspire us to think out of the box, to find those FEW high leverage changes that can improve our organization or life by 5x or 10x or even more. It represents the upper level of what’s possible.

The goal of a commitment or a budget is to allow others – our shareholders, customers or other stakeholders – to make reliable commitments. It represents the lower limit of what’s possible. Our performance, time and budget commitments should include a buffer to ensure that even if things go wrong, we can still achieve it. E.g. if we want to increase profits by 5x, we should have enough potential to achieve 10x to cater for things going wrong. This “buffer” gap is one way to differentiate between a target and a commitment.

So, remember, when we confuse targets with commitments, we will compromise on one, or both the goals of setting ambitious targets and making reliable commitments.

In summary, It’s IMPOSSIBLE to achieve really ambitious targets…UNLESS we can prevent under-targeting and overcommitting.

I’d love to hear your insights on the UNLESS conditions on this topic and how you’ve used the tips in the podcast to make the impossible, possible for you or your organization.

I hope you found this valuable. If you did, please share it and subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss any of the future episodes.

If you do, please share it and subscribe to my Youtube channel so you don’t miss any of the future episodes.

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