Ask these three questions of your team regularly

6th March 2017

Gavin Preston

Be Inspired


The human mind is lazy.

We easily slip into patterns of thinking and behaviour. Each time a new thought occurs, new connections (dendrites) are made between brain cells creating new neural pathways in the brain.  The more we have that thought, behave in that way, the stronger the connection and the wider the neural pathway.  Our thought processes then default along the most used pathways (the widest neural pathways).

That is why too many discussions in business are the same discussions.

You may have seen this in your own team/board meetings where the same people sit in the same seats around the table at the same time of the week, following the same agenda, agreeing the same actions that don’t get followed through on and where everyone leaves feeling the same way.  No wonder they call them ‘bored’ (sorry… ‘Board”) meetings.

To keep our business growing we need to keep our thinking fresh and challenge the status quo.

Here are three questions that you should ask of yourself and your senior team at least quarterly:

  1. What are we not doing?

We spend time focusing on the things we are doing and are going to do.  How often do we question what we are not doing?

The things that you are not doing are often the things you should be focusing on.


  1. What are the assumptions we are making/constraints we are accepting that are not true?Every business has their own version of “that is how things have always been done” or “you can’t change that, that is just how things are”, “they will never agree to that?”. They start off as assumptions and they soon become, as Vishen Lakhiani calls (in his brilliant book ‘The Code of the Extraordinary Mind’) “Brules” ….Bull**** Rules…The moment we accept them as the way things are, is the moment we drive a stake into the ground and and attach a tether that will hold back our business and our own growth.

    One of the first things I look for when working with a business to develop their strategic growth plan are the assumptions that the business is holding as steadfast and true – which are invalid assumptions.  Every business has them.  Every industry has them.

    In a fast changing market place it is critical that we stay alert to these assumptions and the limiting beliefs or ‘Brules’ and then challenge them.  Things that were maybe true at some time in the past are not necessarily applicable now and yet many businesses accept without question those assumptions as being the way things are.

  1. What are the things you take for granted that you do that are unusual & brilliant in your market place? The second thing I look for when working with the management team/owners of a business to develop the Strategic Growth Plan of a business is to look for ‘The Acres of Diamonds at the Bottom of the Garden’.  ‘Acres of Diamonds’ is the title of a great short book by Russell Conwell in which he tells the tale of an African farmer who had heard stories of farmers who had made millions after discovering diamond mines.  He sold his farm and spent years roaming the lands in search of diamond mines, never to find one and ending his life in a stream.Meanwhile the man that had bought the farm from the farmer noticed a bright sparkling stone in the stream at the bottom of the farm.  He discovered what turned out to be one of the largest diamonds and largest diamond mines, right there at the bottom of the garden of the farm that the farmer had sold.

We all have acres of diamonds at the bottom of our gardens.  I find that in every business there is something that you do that you think is normal, you take for granted and assume everyone does it like that when in fact they don’t.  The very things that you do that you take for granted, experience or training you have had that you take for granted or disregard as being relevant could be the very thing that differentiates you in your market place.  It is always a source of great delight to help clients see the acres of diamonds already at the bottom of their garden and help them polish them up and position them as a differentiator in their market place.


Would you like a no obligation ‘£10k Call’ where I spend 45 minutes asking these and other questions to find £10k to put on the bottom line of your business?  I have space for only three of these calls each month so if you would like one of these calls click here.


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