Idea In Brief: Perspective changes everything. Kill the Company is a bold approach to generate inventive growth opportunities, uncover blind spots, and fuel engagement in the strategic planning process. Learn how to use this perspective-changing tool to help your team think differently and supercharge results.
(3 Minute Read)
The challenge with strategic planning is that we say we want new, creative ideas, but we fail to deploy techniques that help us shift our perspectives. We need a way to help us think differently and without constraint.
That’s where Kill the Company comes in.
What is this Strategic Planning Tool?
Kill the Company (KTC) is a powerful strategy work session tool I use with clients who want to upgrade their strategic planning process. Strat planning is an essential activity for every organization, and I’m obsessed with finding ways to optimize the experience. KTC is one tool that never fails to generate creative and innovative insights.
KTC is all about considering the following challenge: If you were a competitor with unlimited resources, what are the strategies you might use to put us out of business?
Yep. It’s bold.
It’s beautiful. The ideas you generate are precisely the innovative strategies you could deploy to beat your competition! You unearth these ideas because you flip the script on how you think about competing by looking through the lens of your competitor’s eyes.
Why is KTC an Effective Strategic Planning Tool?
KTC forces a change in perspective and removes constraints, two conditions critical for productive ideation.
Change in perspective: By looking through your competitor’s eyes, you get an outside looking in view that forces your team to see the world from a new and unfamiliar perspective. Pretending to be an outsider liberates the team from giving weight to internal constraints, politics, and frustrations.
Remove constraints: By assuming your competitor has unlimited resources, you free up the typical industry, customer, and company constraints that would otherwise limit your ideas. As Nelson Mandella said, “it always seems impossible until it’s done.” You have to allow yourself to think about it first, and KTC gives your team this permission.
How I Conduct KTC Work Sessions
First, let’s talk about who should be involved. A diverse group of 7-15 people with all functions represented will yield the most productive session. I prefer to work with mid-level managers because they live in the trenches; closest to the customer and closest to the market.
Envolving mid-level managers at this level is a perfect way to drive more engagement and make the organization strategy more meaningful to the very people who will lead the execution.
Step 1 - Brainstorm
Gather the team together and pose the question, “Imagine you are our main competitor and have unlimited funds and resources at your disposal. What would you do right now to put us out of business?” List all ideas, big and small.
Step 2 - Prioritize
Prioritize the list of ideas generated based on (1) the potential impact that idea would have on the business and (2) the probability that the concept could be executed. You want to identify the ideas that have both a significant impact and a higher likelihood of implementation.
Step 3 - Problem-Solve
Take the top two ideas and brainstorm how you might use this strategy to beat your competition or how you would defend this threat from your competitor. Whether it’s a proactive strategy or defensive strategy will depend on the particular situation.
Step 4 - Action
Determine what actions (who, what, when) to take, and how the team will follow up on the insights gained.
Idea into Action:
Go Small Scale: Try KTC on a smaller scale by conducting a Kill the Product/Service session. How might a competitor or new entrant with unlimited resources take your product market share or create a better substitute product? This question is an excellent way for product teams to gain an outside-in perspective to generate new ideas.
Let’s Work Together: Contact me, and we can explore how I might work with your team on a KTC work session! Regardless of where you are within your planning cycle, a KTC session is a valuable investment in your business that will unearth new possibilities and expose blind spots that require attention.
A significant benefit of strategic planning is the opportunity to think differently about your business. However, to think differently, you must be freed from the constraints of conventional thinking. That can be difficult to do, but KTC is a great tool to utilize while fueling employee engagement in the process.
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