You need a process for distinguishing a good idea from a great idea.
It’s fairly easy to tell the difference between good ideas and bad ones, but what about good ideas and great ones? As many people have said in a lot of different ways, sometimes the enemy of a great idea is a good idea. (For great ideas delivered to your inbox weekly, sign up for the Scalable Memo.)
Good ideas are a dime a dozen, and if you say yes to all of them, you’ll never have the capacity to try out some really great ideas. At a recent strategic planning meeting, Roland and Ryan sat down with their team to look at where they’re at as a company and where they’re headed. They felt frustrated that growth hasn’t been what they’d hoped of late.
They concluded that they’d been investing too much time and money into good ideas, instead of great ones. It was time to let some of those good ideas go. But how do you know when and how to do that?
Tweaking the ICE Model and Clearly Stating the Hypothesis
The ICE Scoring Model is helpful when deciding whether an idea is good or great. You rank your project on a scale of 1-10 in each of three categories: Impact, Confidence, Ease. Then you multiply the numbers to get the ICE score.
To make sure an idea is great, and not just good, Roland and Ryan have decided to go for a high score in all three categories, not just one or two. If something will have a high impact and is easy, but you don’t have confidence in it, it’s not going to be great.
They also decided to get very clear on their hypothesis from the beginning and put it in writing. A simple paragraph is fine. “We believe that, if we do the following, it will achieve this particular result. And we’ll know when x happens.”
Don’t just say, “We think that, if we do this, we’ll get more leads.” That’s not specific enough, and there’s no time frame. You need to know when to kill if something doesn’t work as quickly as you wanted. You need a system for identifying whether or not an idea lives up to expectations in a stated time frame.
Just because you have the capacity doesn’t mean you have to take on a project. If it’s not a great idea yet, let it bake.
Getting Your Employees to Think Like Owners
The theory is that the more we can help employees to think like entrepreneurs, to have an owner’s mindset, the more aligned we all are toward achieving our goals as owners. But how do you do that? How do you instill an entrepreneurial mindset in the people who work for you?
Ryan thinks most people are at one end of the spectrum or the other. They’re either a serial entrepreneur who’s always starting something new or someone who just wants a job where they clock in and out and do what they’re told. He doesn’t see many people in the middle.
One way to motivate employees to act like owners is to offer variable compensation (incentive on top of a base salary used to motivate and retain employees). But Ryan hasn’t seen that work. He thinks you either have that mindset or you don’t, and their company isn’t going to pay a salary at market rate and put variable comp on top of that. For owners, if there’s no money, there’s no paycheck. If lots of great ideas bring in lots of money, they get more. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
When you’re interviewing, you look for people who take ownership of things. Ask them questions and see if they get responsibility and already take ownership of their lives. People with owner mindsets are going to make decisions for the good of the company, not just themselves.
Micro-Ownership as a Prerequisite to the Owner Track
There are two tracks: the employee track and the owner track. Instead of offering variable comp right away, you can do a probationary period. Give someone micro-ownership, see how they do, before you put them on the owner track and give them more opportunities to be entrepreneurial. Make them prove their ownership mentality. Equity in the company is earned.
What does this look like? You give someone the opportunity to take ownership of a project or team. They’re not getting more pay, but they’re getting a valuable opportunity. You test it out. If they fail, they can go right back to where they were. You don’t have to let them fail publicly and spectacularly. There’s such a thing as an opportunity with a safety net.
For your part as owner, you want to build a culture within your company that’s attractive to people with entrepreneurial mindsets. Become more mission-focused, flexible on work hours and location, plenty of opportunities to take on certain projects. Give people who want the owner path a chance to take a shot at it. You need to find these people. If you always have to be the person who goes to make sure things get done, you won’t ultimately scale.
The Stages of the Entrepreneurial Journey
Need some help putting some systems in place to help your business grow and scale? Roland and Ryan just started working on what will be Scalable’s third flagship accelerator.
These accelerators will take you through each stage of your entrepreneurial journey, getting you to 6- and 7- figures, then to 8-, then to 9- and beyond. Each accelerator helps you build the capacity for the next level of scale. The Scalable Impact Accelerator will also offer an exit strategy for when you’re ready to sell your business.
It really is the holy trinity of scale. Sign up for the next cohort today!
Roland’s EPIC Challenge.
You may have heard about Roland’s EPIC challenge, which he moved online when the Pandemic hit. It focuses on Ethical Profits In Times of Crisis and dives into no-money out-of-pocket business acquisition strategies. If you’re interested in finding out more about this strategy, click here.
Contact & Follow Roland
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Contact and Follow Ryan Deiss
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