Moonshot thinking: Rise above the “business as usual” trap
Does the traditional way of running your accounting practice feel stifling? Your curious nature makes you inquisitive. Because of that, you consistently question processes to find a better way.
As a forward thinker, you stand apart from many of your colleagues. You think differently, work differently and respond differently to unexpected challenges. Although others pressure you to maintain the status quo, you refuse to simply do things because they’ve always been done that way.
What you know has more value than what you do. Warren Buffet gets paid to think. He goes to bed smarter than when he woke up. About 80 percent of his work day is devoted to reading and thinking.
So, like Buffet, you block out time in your schedule for innovative thinking. The door is shut and all notifications are turned off. This eliminates any interruptions that could throw off your train of thought. During this dedicated time, you savor the solitude to think and explore creative, unconventional solutions.
You categorized the various types of positions within your firm.
- Task oriented. Day-to-day tasks, direct client services and administrative duties fit into this category.
- Manager. The manager role oversees a team and starts to leverage time.
- Thought Leader. This positions you as an advisor and expert. As a spokesperson for the company, and possibly the industry, your perspective influences the people who know, like and trust you.
You thrive on BIG ideas. As a thought leader, you openly share your insights with fellow accounting professionals.
You can work toward predictable growth with 10% increments each year. Or, you can aim for exponential expansion, setting your sights on 10x growth. Incremental thinking emphasizes ways to make your current capabilities better. Whereas, moonshot thinking leads to breakthrough insights.
The Moonshot Thinking Formula:
- Identify. Discover the big problem that you’re now ready to resolve. Where’s the bottleneck?
- Search. Open your mind to a radical solution to resolves this specific problem.
- Discover. Find the resource that solves your problem. Consider technology, systems or people.
- Challenge. Sometimes the exact solution to your problem is being applied to something else. Maybe there’s technology that can solve your problem, but it was designed for a different purpose than the one you’re looking to solve.
As a thought leader, you’re naturally inclined to take risks that most other entrepreneurs avoid. Where others see resistance, you see potential. Astro Teller, the head of Google X, claims that 10x goals are easier than 10% increments. Those loftier goals inspire passion whereas small increments focus more on tactics.
Innovative role models
Since you like to challenge the status quo, disruptive businesses inspire you. “How can I achieve similar results?” you wonder. You believe if they can do it, then you can do it too.
For instance, Netflix has disrupted the entertainment industry by killing video rentals and significantly cutting the demand of traditional cable TV. The company operates on a simple premise-people will watch what they want when they want instead of conforming to a TV schedule.
Companies, like Netflix, think differently. How does this apply to your accounting practice? You consider which “on demand” resources your clients need.
Uplevel your network
According to internet marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk, colleges and books can’t make you successful.
His key to success includes networking up. That’s where you develop a network of people who already make things happen. Start to identify the go-getters and thought leaders that you currently know.
By the way, great ideas don’t fully formulate in isolation. Your initial idea grows by talking with other people. Companies, like Google, recognize this process and offer thinking time to their employees.
The mastermind groups we host fulfill that need. You discuss your idea. Then you gain new insights during the discussion.
Your initial idea starts to formulate based upon the feedback you receive. It’s like a think tank for your business. The other members know as much, if not more, than you. Not only do you gain from their input; you also get new insights by listening to the other members discuss their ideas.
Innovation loves variety
Diversity extends beyond gender and ethnicity. Mix up your network with people who run in different circles. Novel ideas, and thought diversity, stem from conversations with people from various walks of life.
Novelty lights up our minds. Get creative. Take different ideas from other places and connect them. An open mind stimulates innovation.
As Steve Jobs said, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.”
Odd couple connections
Business is about relationships. Sometimes the odd relationships yield the most profitable referrals.
Peter H. Diamandis is the founder of a progressive company known as Singularity University, a Silicon Valley institution that counsels the world’s leaders on exponentially growing technologies. According to him, you want to create “unholy alliances”, that is, partnerships with businesses working in fields different than yours. Many familiar big tech companies have achieved business success from such odd partnerships – Apple and Music, Microsoft and Gaming and Facebook and Oculus.
What does a pest control company have in common with your accounting practice? You share similar clients, small business owners. This means you can cross refer.
Audit your business model
Elon Musk is a pioneer in disruptive thinking. He’s taking on challenges that most people would never consider possible. Currently, he’s creating ways to offer affordable space travel. Plus, he put an end to traffic jams by creating tunnels through his Boring Company and ultrafast transportation via Hyperloop. According to Musk, you must consistently question all assumptions about your business model.
Regularly audit your business to discover which assumptions slow your business. These are the bottlenecks.
Schedule time to think and wonder how you can reinvent your firm. Research new technology that reduces costs. Price for value, rather than time. Or, develop a highly effective marketing strategy.
Challenging your own assumptions becomes easier with practice. Here’s a hint: business owners are typically the bottleneck to their firms growth. Once you clear the various bottlenecks, you will wonder why you didn’t do that sooner.
Don’t be caught off-guard by other people’s resistance when you aim for 10x growth. Expect your friends, family and associates to discourage your vision. Big thinking makes most people uncomfortable.
Elon Musk’s close friend showed him a dozen videos of rockets blowing up because he believed that SpaceX would never succeed. Fortunately, Musk didn’t second-guess his vision. He persevered despite the push-back.
As you shoot for the moon, embrace the risks. As a thought leader, discover how to transform obstacles into opportunities. Continue to pursue your vision, even when people close to you express doubt and concern. As failures occur, momentarily acknowledge the disappointment. Then recover quickly and discover the underlying lessons.
Moonshot thinking is easier said than done. Connect with other thought leaders who think big, just like you. Set time aside to clarify your vision, then accept the challenge. John F. Kennedy didn’t know how to go reach the moon when he initially committed to the Space Race. Even if you don’t reach the moon, you’ll grow from the process. And yes, you’ll achieve more than if you settled for the sure thing.