The importance of perspective
- Intelligently formed
- Forcefully advocated
- Gently held
Do your homework
(Know where you are headed, what your competition is doping and how you plan to get there.)
Put it in context
(Develop, refine and update a plan for getting to the desired outcome)
(put the plan in front of your Board, Strategic Partners, Investors and customers to continuously test its validity)
Write it down
(A belief doesn't count unless you commit to it in a recorded fashion that you and others can revisit)
Put yourself at risk
(Be willing to stand for and defend what you believe in front of your peers)
Make others challenge you
(Use the feedback of your peers to either strengthen your beliefs or to forece you to modify them)
Learn and revise
(Benefit from experience, pivot and course correct continuously)
Let new facts form new beliefs
(Start the process anew, but track the learning, the pivots and corrections in writing)
Reflect progressive learning
(Continuous improvement through incremental and continuous course corrections)
We have used this simple thought process to guide our own learning and development over the years. As easy and straighforward as the process sounds, the greatest tension comes from the the balance between forcefully advocating and gently holding a concept at the same time. Only when we take strong positions are we likely to elicit strong responses. And only when we allow those strong responses to cause us to consider, rethink and adjust our positions do we both accomplish the "gently held" objective and improve the intelligence of the concept.
As important is the recording part of the process. Most people believe their own views are relatively constant, even when they are subject to constant revision. Only by recording them can you see how much they adjust over time. If that adjustment is a vaccilation back and forth, then perhaps you ought to believe your own original position more strongly. If the adjustment is a continuous progression into a new direction, then you should think carefully about charting a path that more forecefully pursues that new direction.
Most of the companies we work with come to us with an intelligently formed and unique insight about the market they are addressing or the products they are building. The more transformative the insight or the product, the greater the potential for achieving outsized investment returns. However, virtually all of the most successful companies we have worked with have been able to continuously increment and improve upon that original insight to ultimately provide a better product, service or technology to their customers.