You can’t read the label on the jar when you are inside it

You cant see the label when inside jar

8th September 2015

Gavin Preston

List Nuturing


Malcolm Gladwell, in his acclaimed book ‘Outliers’ claims that the key to creating real success (in any field) to such an extent that you create a phenomenon is practicing a task for a total of around 10,000 hours (20 hours per week for 10 years).   You know your business. You know your market place. You are the guru on your industry. You have years of experience. You probably have those 10,000 hours under your belt, or at least rapidly closing in on it.

So why is it you wake up searching for the answers? Why do you find yourself with an endless list of things to be done whirring around your head? Why does it feel that all your energy is spent running to stand still? Why is it with so much experience you can sometimes feel overwhelmed?

Why is it when that voice in the back of your mind keeps reminding you of that next major move in your business that you know you should take, you find yourself saying “I haven’t got the time! I am too busy with what I already have on my plate. And what if it doesn’t work? I can’t afford to risk what we’ve already achieved”.

The human response to that feeling of overwhelm? We do nothing. What is the result of the worry regarding the risk and not loosing everything that you have built? We pull on the handbrake for our business.   But it is not the handbrake that brings the business to a halt, just the one that stops the business moving further forward.

Why does it sometimes feel that you can’t see the path to taking your business to the next level?

I recently heard a great phrase that provides an answer to these questions: “You can’t read the label on the jam jar when you are inside it”.

So how do you get out of the jam jar to read the label?

Here is a process that will help you:

  • Clear some space on your diary.   Protect that time. Book a meeting room offsite.
  • Bring along the key creative thinkers of your business, those that can see the bigger picture and understand your industry and the could real of a SWOT analysis for your business without pausing for breath
  • Turn off your phones
  • Write the answers to these questions on post it notes:
    • What are the strategic trends in your industry?
    • What are the trends in customer behaviour, technology, society, financing, demographics that have an influence on your market place?
    • What part of the market are the majority of the market place squabbling over on price?
    • What is it you do that your best customers truly value?
    • Where else will you find other customers that will also value that?
  • Put the post it notes on the wall and sort them out in the way that makes sense to you.
  • Stand back. Look at the wall. What is the emerging picture of clarity showing you?

I write this on the train on the way back from running the 1st day of a Strategic planning programme with a client. As a result of answering these questions they got clarity, confidence and certainty on how they are going to double their business in the next twelve months.

If you would like me to help provide the insight and strategy for your business so that you can take action and grow then drop me a line.

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