John Grubbs - When Training Matters

Helping Companies Rethink, Recover & Refocus on the Future

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Most of us have heard the old axiom, begin with the end in mind. Create a vision for what you want and go after it. But what if that is all wrong? What if having a picture of what you wish blinds you to opportunities along the way? Can we be so focused on one outcome that we miss others that appear in our path?

In the classic book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill, espoused the idea of simply looking for something (like wealth) at the subconscious level primes the reticular activating system in the brain to see opportunities missed by most people. The brain can see something at both the conscious and subconscious levels. This vision may be practical for some things and harmful for others.

Consider the terms incrementalism and terminalism as two new ideas. Incrementalism is a method of working by using many small incremental changes instead of a few (extensively planned) large jumps. Terminalism is rare in the current dictionary vocabulary, and there is not much about the concept in this context. My computer screams at me that the word is wrong as I type. I am ignoring it, by the way.

Availability bias (heuristic) is a mental shortcut to connect with ideas or opportunities. This bias can render someone blind to other courses of action. My thesis is that when we start with the end in mind, we can become blinded to different decisions. Your favorite detective novels and movies are rich with cases where the officer becomes convinced one person is guilty and no longer looks at additional evidence. The same phenomenon can happen in business when a strategic plan can blind someone to other opportunities. The farther out you plan, the bigger your blind spot becomes.

Here is an example to consider. I encourage all the CEOs and business owners (who I work with) to create an infographic about the current business strategy. I recommend this because the vision in your head is rarely seen accurately by your team members. You may be to see it vividly, but your people cannot. I model the behavior by creating an infographic for my business to encourage them to do the same. In less than one year, my infographic has become wildly inaccurate. Things have changed, along with opportunities for my business.

A typical 3-year strategic plan in business is practically worthless in one year or less. I am not negating the power of planning. Companies must look toward the horizon for opportunities. However, when looking too far ahead, you can miss opportunities as they present for your business. I call this practice...

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