Greetings.  It's the start of a new week and a great time to take a fresh look at the important opportunities and challenges facing your company or organization.  A chance to think about the new products, services, and solutions that would create greater value for your customers.  A chance to think about new ways to get things done that are more efficient, effective, engaging, and environmentally-friendly.  A chance to bring out more of the genius and innovation in all of your people.  Isn't this why they pay you the big bucks?  But instead of focusing on this stuff, you're probably going to get sucked into all of the "urgent" and far less important items that have piled up on your desk, calendar, iPhone, or email box.  Funny how that works.  And you're probably going to avoid innovating because it takes too much time to come up with new ideas.

Well, it doesn't have to.  And here's a simple exercise to spark your thinking…

And all you need is a problem or opportunity, a flipchart with a line drawn down the center (from top to bottom), an open mind, and a few of your most thoughtful colleagues.  And five minutes.  That's right–five minutes to be brilliant by going to extremes.

Let's say that your challenge and opportunity is to attract the most talented new employees.  Employees with unique skillsets that are hard to find in even a slow economy.  And to do this you'll have to be different than all the other companies that are competing to find the same people.  And the way you'll figure it out is by first determining out how to be the least desirable employer on the planet. So use the left hand side of the page to think about all the things you could do or offer that would make your company the worst possible workplace for a talented person.  And be as clever and nasty as possible–because the worse you can be the better your chances for success!  Then, once you've come up with a simply horrible list of ideas, take each item and figure out (using the right hand side of the page) the complete opposite in some compelling way.  Then use these awesome ideas to frame your plan for standing out from the pack.  All in five energizing minutes.  


We win in business and in life when we take the time to go to extremes. And when we discover, by making mistakes that don't count, new ways to deliver the most compelling value.