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What to Do When You Need a Breakthrough

February 4, 2021


These days it's easy to be consumed by the current conditions and political posturing that is happening all around us. Between reports of case counts, rising debt, and the state of our economy and health care system, it seems prudent to go into a holding pattern or a hunker-down position. But what if there is another option? What if you could break through that fear—what might you achieve? Let’s look at some options.

Pivot - Can you apply your organization’s core competency in a new way to deliver a new product, service, or program? I recall a time when our executive team actually had an exploratory conversation around applying our wood manufacturing expertise to making high end caskets at a time when demand for our core product was at an all-time low.

Expand - Is your product or service one that can be licensed to other countries or jurisdictions with little to no modification? If others are pulling out, can you double down?

Partner - Are there others in your supply chain with whom you can partner? Can you generate the benefits of scale without massive investment (e.g., purchasing groups)? Do you share a client or customer base with another organization or agency that allows for "piggybacking" of investment or administrative costs to make it better for everyone?

Reinvent - Can you transition your business model to something that improves accessibility? Can you apply your product or service in a new or different way?

There are so many options to explore; don't let fear or a lack of a clear path hold you back. Instead, take the following four steps to foster the opportunity for a breakthrough moment.

  1. Review your strategy - Determine if you need to adjust what you are shooting for by way of goals and objectives. Identify what is getting in your way so you have a good understanding of your current state.
  2. Explore options - While the options above are certainly up for consideration, invest some time to research different paths that will help you remove the roadblocks you've identified from your strategy review.
  3. Refine your path - Do your homework and test one or more options quickly, and with minimal investment, to validate which one is best to pursue.
  4. Reset the team - Be clear with your team as to what is going to change on the revised path and how it will impact them and the business in the short (and potentially long) term.

Generating a breakthrough doesn’t need to take months or years. With the right focus, tools and supports, the cycle can be rapid and covered off in a few weeks. All you need to do is commit to the possibility of achieving it.

So, if you are feeling stuck in a rut while waiting for things to return to normal, here’s my challenge to you. Get unstuck and seek out a breakthrough moment. Even if you don't achieve one your first time out of the gate, the energy you will generate from the activity will propel you forward and keep you from slipping into the next rut.

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