How Would You Respond to This Challenge?

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It’s officially spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Typically, spring is a season associated with rebirth and renewal. It’s a chance to look at the world through fresh eyes. So today, let’s use spring as an opportunity to look at your business through fresh eyes.


Sometimes, though, it’s difficult to look at things that we’re close to (like our business) through fresh eyes because—well, because we’re so close to them! It’s hard to take that 30,000-foot view when we’re down on the ground, right smack in the middle of things.

And that’s why I think one of the most crucial, yet most overlooked, leadership abilities is the ability to play pretend.

Leaders should be good at playing pretend. #leadership Click To Tweet

Here’s how it’s going to work in this case. I want you to pretend that you want to sell your business. [You: “But I don’t want to sell my business.” Me: “That’s why we call it ‘pretend.'”] In this game of pretend, you’re selling your business for good, altruistic reasons that will benefit everyone (in other words, there’s no baggage associated with this sale).

You put the word out, and you carefully evaluate all of the potential buyers. And one of them is perfect! She is everything you could possibly want in a buyer. You know that your business is going to be in the best possible hands.

And then she says it.

“I really want to buy your business,” she says. “But before I’m willing to buy it, you have to change these three things.”

So, my question to you for this game of pretend is: what are the three things? If the perfect buyer, who is impartially looking at your business from 30,000 feet, insists that you change three things, what would those three things be?

Really think about this question. In our game of pretend, this buyer is an experienced leader and business owner whose opinion you value. And she has just told you that there are three things you need to fix, improve, discard, or otherwise change.

What are the three things?

What 3 things should you change in your business? #leadership #change Click To Tweet

If you really want to kick this game into high gear, by the way, invite the rest of your team to play. Make it anonymous (just in case one of the things that needs to change is you!) But have each member of your team identify the three things that your imaginary buyer is insisting that you change.

If any item (or items) shows up on more than one list—well, that’s kind of a clue, isn’t it?

Spring is a season of rebirth. Let this season and this game of pretend, be a rebirth for your leadership and your business.


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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