Thinking Like a Killer Can Save Your Business

A few years ago at some conference I was at, Adam Grant, author of “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World,” gave a talk that really stuck with me. He asked a question that stood out: “How will you kill your business?”

Me? What!? Kill my business? How?

The idea is to get your company’s leaders to think about every possible way they could ruin the business. Write down the ideas, talk about them, and brainstorm. It’s often easier and more effective than asking, “How will you save this business?”

When you ask people to come up with ways to improve or save the company, you usually get the same old ideas and not much innovation. But when you ask them how they could wreck it, you’ll be amazed at the creative ideas they come up with.

This exercise shows the real threats and pressures your company faces. It’s a great way to get everyone thinking. And scared. (Or excited… I guess!)

People who normally don’t have much to say suddenly get really involved when talking about how they could harm the company. These are often things they worry about but don’t share because they don’t want to seem negative. This exercise gives them a chance to speak up.

Talking about how to kill the business also opens up more creative thinking about how to save it. The solutions need to be just as imaginative. It’s important to be open to these ideas instead of sticking to a failing plan just to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.

When you think about how to sabotage your business, ideas come quickly. But when you ask yourself how to save it, it’s harder. This shows we need to train ourselves and our teams to think differently.

We often take ideas about saving the company less seriously than ideas about sabotaging it. Both are important. A company can fail just as easily as it can succeed if leaders are open to listening to all ideas without judgment.

Relying on just one idea to save the company can be risky. It’s important to have a variety of strategies.

So, how will you kill your business? By thinking like a business killer you can spot hidden threats and come up with new ideas to help your company succeed.

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