Saturday, September 04, 2010

Step Five: Document and Suggest 2,000 Percent Solution Projects and Goals

For You are my rock and my fortress;
Therefore, for Your name’s sake,
Lead me and guide me.
— Psalm 31:3 (NKJV)

Even the most enthusiastic, best informed, and most
well-intentioned leaders may struggle in selecting the best
projects for creating and implementing 2,000 percent
solutions. They are most likely to latch onto one of the first
improvements that are proposed or occur to them. In
many cases, leaders will not be able to come up with a
good quantitative measurement of what they want to
improve. Organizations are neither going to benefit
equally from all 2,000 percent solutions they could create
nor are organizations equally well prepared to work on a
wide variety of such solutions. Leaders will be greatly
helped by the faithful breakthrough servant who does
advance homework to identify the most valuable, easiest
to accomplish projects and the appropriate goals for those
projects. As wonderful as having such information is,
there’s a lot of work involved. Let’s look at some helpful
suggestions to supplement what is described in Part Two
of The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook.

Start by imagining every potential improvement you can
that could be supportive of the organization’s hidden
consensus among its stakeholders. In spelling out those
potential improvements, the breakthrough servant
should be sure to look at the benefits in terms of all
stakeholders as well as their short- and long-term

During this first step, it’s perfectly appropriate to make
some wild guesses about what the improvements might
be and their magnitudes. Test your ideas with people who
are knowledgeable about potential benefits from improved
performance and can consider them in terms of the
likelihood of such benefits being gained and how large the
benefits might be. If you receive greatly differing opinions,
ask the people who disagree to explain to one another how
they arrived at their conclusions. In such a case, it will often
be possible to develop an improved answer that combines
the best insights of all the knowledgeable people who have
given an opinion.

From what you learn, boil down the list of potential
improvements to the ten or so that seem to offer the best
combination of the benefits being likely to occur and to be
enjoyed in substantial quantities. Next, consider what the
key accomplishments are to make the breakthroughs on
the list possible. Although some other accomplishments
beyond those on your list can prove to be more important
for advancing the hidden consensus, in the beginning of
identifying the best breakthrough solutions to pursue, it’s
helpful just to see where knowledgeable people anticipate
that accomplishments will lead to important benefits being
created and how large those will be. After you have a list of
key accomplishments that are required to gain the desired
benefits, compare that list to what your organization has
been most effective in accomplishing. See where there are
close matches and large mismatches. For the mismatches,
do some research to see if other organizations or
individuals are in a good position to provide the missing
skill, knowledge, or experience needed to achieve those
accomplishments. Check on the potential availability of the
helping organizations and individuals and, for the available
ones, investigate the costliness and difficulty of working
with them. Now focus on the key accomplishments that
would be easiest to do, either based on your organization’s
resources or by relying on outside help that you can afford
and expect to succeed in working with. Take those
accomplishments and consider what other benefits could
be produced from them that expand well beyond your
original concept of improvements that would advance
performance in serving the hidden consensus.

Next, winnow your list of the easiest-to-do key
accomplishments down to just those that create the
largest total benefits, both for and beyond the hidden
consensus. You don’t have to be precise in your
measurements. Be satisfied with finding the differences
that can be measured reasonably accurately by orders
of magnitude. From that perspective, just a few key
accomplishments will probably be much more valuable
than the others.

After doing that, think about how the remaining key
accomplishments could be expanded, redefined,
extended, or reduced in scope to provide still more
benefits or benefits for more stakeholders. Let me give
you an example of what might be possible. For the
purposes of the illustration, I will assume that a high-
potential key accomplishment is developing a certain
type of new product that will attract a new class of
customers and deliver valuable benefits to existing and
new customers. For the purposes of this paragraph, the
breakthrough servant would then reconsider the new
product to determine what other valuable benefits could
be delivered by redefining what type of new product is

Here’s a specific example of the illustration. Kentucky
Fried Chicken (KFC) wanted to develop a non-fried chicken
product beginning in the 1960s to attract customers who
wanted nothing to do with fried chicken but liked chicken.
Having seen how popular rotisserie-cooked chickens were
in KFC restaurants in Australia and in supermarkets
around the world, decades of research went into
developing that sort of product. The efforts didn’t lead to
the desired results.

In recent years, the company took a new direction by
redefining what type of new product to develop: The
result was Kentucky Grilled Chicken, a product that
combines spices with a grilled flavor and appearance that
rotisserie chickens don’t have. The new recipe and
cooking style quickly became popular with KFC
customers, provided health benefits compared to fried
chicken, and expanded the chain’s sales and profitability.

Had KFC defined its new product requirements more
carefully in the 1960s, this product could have been
available and selling well many decades earlier. The
opportunity was missed due to the definition of the
desired benefits being thought of too narrowly,
seeking to help the company make more sales, rather
than extending to providing benefits that customers
wanted, which included not only healthier food but also
a new and appealing flavor.

Copyright 2010 Donald W. Mitchell, All Rights Reserved

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