For the past few years, I’ve been asking entrepreneurs to imagine a future in which you take whatever’s most important to you and multiply it by a factor of ten. Does that thought make you uneasy?
My experience is that, if it does, it’s because instead of simply magnifying what might be great, you’re also imagining ten times more of the complexity you’re dealing with at present. This fear can keep even the most successful entrepreneurs from accomplishing, or even entertaining the thought of really big goals that they’re otherwise perfectly capable of achieving.
Complexity is a natural, constant by-product of success. Every time you grow, all the “stuff” and messes in your business tend to grow too. More opportunities, clients, projects, and employees can easily add to the load an entrepreneur carries.
The secret to growing without getting overwhelmed by all this complexity is to continually cultivate your ability to simplify as you go. Once you’re able to uncouple growing results from growing complexity, it becomes easier to adopt and act with a “multiplier mindset”, where thoughts of making things ten times bigger, better, faster, easier, cheaper, and more enjoyable become the norm.
Transforming complexity into a new, simpler way of doing things that’s consistent with exponentially greater results and enjoyment is a skill, and the entrepreneurs who grow the most and retain a great quality of life in the process are masters at it.
At the heart of this ability is self knowledge: What do you do best that continually energises and motivates you, and also creates the greatest value in your business? How much simpler would your life be if you could focus just on doing this and getting better at it, doing it for more and more appreciative and lucrative audiences and having others on your team handle everything else that keeps the business going and growing?
Entrepreneurs can learn how to stay in this zone that we call “Unique Ability” and surround themselves with alert, responsible, curious, and resourceful team members to support that ability and handle all other aspects of the business. Then, even if their organisations become bigger or more complex, their own experience is one of greater simplicity and enjoyment. Often, growth and simplification happen through paring down to fewer, bigger clients or customers or a smaller but more profitable niche where it’s possible to offer a more innovative line of products or services.
Regardless of what it looks like, this doesn’t happen on its own. It requires a conscious effort and some supportive habits and tools. This is where the skill comes in. In our experience with over 15,000 entrepreneurs, during the first three years of streamlining and focusing, getting more and more clear on what their Unique Ability® is and building a team to support that, entrepreneurs tend to double their turnover at minimum. After building this foundation—with larger resources, more time to think, and greater clarity about what to focus on—they are able to grow exponentially year over year.
One of my coaching clients, Andrew Dodds, has trained his team members to such a level of capability that any of them can step in for anyone else—including him. He says, “What’s most impressive about this is the improvement in my quality of life. In 1998, I worried every month about making payroll. Now, I’m working half the time with ten times the pay, and the only stress I have is a creative stress—redesigning the company and reinventing ourselves for the next ten times.”
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