Simon is CEO of a business operating in the Middle East and Africa and when I met him it was enjoying double-digit growth, significantly outperforming similar organisations in mature European markets. The most recent financial year had seen growth of 12%, something his former colleagues in the UK could only dream of.
So why wasn’t I impressed?
“What’s the potential in this region?” I asked.
“Around 40%,” he replied.
“So you’re underperforming by quite a long way,” I said.
He was quiet. For a moment I thought I’d overstepped the mark.
Then he admitted, “I’d never thought of it like that.”
I hadn’t been trying to undermine his achievement, merely open his mind to what was possible and shift his focus to the 28% that was up for grabs.
This led us to get his team together and explore the potential. We brought his country managers together. As is typical with these workshops, there was a lot of ground to cover.
Isolating the interference
We started with a venting session, designed to get out all the issues that hold us back. We label this interference. It could be real, imagined or perceived – anything that gets in our way and occupies thinking time or activity.
The team shared over 80 things that bothered them. These were the 80 things that were preventing them from hitting their €1bn target.
Putting the barriers in boxes
We categorised every item on the issue list – all 80 of them – into three boxes.
- Not bothered (at all or right now)
- Givens (things we can’t change)
At the end of the process we were left with three items in the “bothered” column and we knew that if we addressed those we could unlock €2bn in additional revenues. Solving them required no magic, no investment and no more headcount.
We showed the teams how to take ownership and develop a plan to capitalise on the hidden potential. Will they unlock all €2bn? Probably not, but they will go beyond their current comfortable level of thinking and increase their productivity significantly.
So ask yourself:
- What is your real potential?
- What interference is getting in your way?
- What are you prepared to do about It?
Why not try the 3 step process for yourself?
- Vent – write down all the things holding you back
- Not bothered
- Prioritise – Go to work on your bothered list