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Pave an Unstoppable Road to Breakthrough Success

Unless you prepare a sound roadbed, the road you lay will soon become unusable. Preparation for creating breakthroughs teaches the same lesson: Getting organized in the right way determines your success. In addition, preparation builds confidence that you will succeed . . . helping create the breakthrough.

Most people with no experience in making breakthroughs don't try to create breakthroughs because they don't believe such important improvements are possible. With the right preparations you'll be more likely to succeed and your confidence in your future success will soar.

How can we use the right preparations to replace our skepticism about breakthroughs with success?

Let me place this subject in context: It's a critical lesson for those who want to make lots of 2,000 percent solutions (ways of accomplishing 20 times more with the same time, effort, and resources).

The steps for creating a 2,000 percent solution are outlined here:

1. Understand the value of measuring performance.

2. Decide what to measure.

3. Estimate the future best practice.

4. Implement beyond the future best practice.

5. Identify the ideal best practice.

6. Pursue the ideal best practice.

7. Select the right people and provide the right motivation.

8. Repeat the first seven steps.

This article looks at preparations for accomplishing step seven, select the right people and provide the right motivation.

Don't Ask Permission, Ask Forgiveness Later (If Necessary)

Sometimes the need for change is so daunting that the organization's leaders wont be able to cope. When that circumstance occurs, consider saving the organization by using what I call "stealth" change. Rather than beginning by selling the people at the top and making great promises and proclamations, keep it all hush-hush. Recruit a few highly admired people who have the talent to lead the change by creating models of the new ways on the quiet. After setting the standard, loan talented teams who can install the better ways to a few more highly admired people who are in trouble with making their budgets. Ask your bailed-out leaders to visit the rest of the organization to explain the successful change and to welcome visitors who want to learn more. Such stealthy projects can often run circles around formally authorized teams with tons of resources.

Launch Your Team into Escape Orbit

Before finalizing your choice of team members and leader, let those you are considering know that there's risk involved. Team members will be betting their careers with this assignment. Team members and leaders who perform well will likely be asked to solve another problem or pursue a different opportunity  that's their career reward. If they don't execute the changes, they won't have jobs to go back to & but you will help them locate a new position in another organization.

As you can imagine, knowing that you cannot retreat to your old job is unsettling, even demoralizing, information. People who have routinely exceeded the future best practices to approach the ideal best practice report that this up-or-out approach is necessary. Team members who like a challenge will thrive in this environment. But it's not for everyone. You are creating burning platforms for team members to help them realize that the project's success is essential. Take on only those who are willing to accept the personal danger from this risk.

What about financial rewards? Incentives for a special project should in no way mirror the organization's existing financial incentives. Success should result in far larger than normal bonuses for team members at their given levels. Pick incentive sizes that will excite exceptional and appropriate excellence. Many organizations choose incentives that are too large. Larger financial incentives quickly fail to add greater excitement. Instead, financial incentives that are too large encourage people to play it safe to be sure to get a minimum reward of the overwhelming largesse.


You need to change some of the ways you manage your organization now, locate your change leaders, prepare leaders for the change tasks, and encourage change leaders to be effective and enthusiastic.

What to Stop Doing

You have some ineffective methods. Those have to stop. You also need to stop doing things that take up time you need for the change projects. Consider your answers to the following questions:

" What are the habits that will lead your organization in the wrong direction as you pursue the desired changes?

" How can you encourage abandoning those habits?

" What incentives do you provide now for those habits that need to be removed?

" What messages should not be sent?

Find the Best Change Leaders

The following questions will help you identify change leaders:

" Who in your organization has the best track record for leading the types of changes you desire?

" Who else can contribute to the change process through new ideas, communicating the change, or organizing the change effort?

" Who in your organization are most excited about the potential to make these changes?

" How well do the candidates' values match the organization's values?

Prepare the Change Leaders

Use these questions to enhance the effectiveness of your change leaders:

" What information do the change leaders lack that can be readily provided?

" How can that information be shared the most effectively?

" What skills or training will they need to be effective?

" How can this training be timed to help them when it will be most relevant to the tasks at hand?

" What resources will they need?

" How can those resources be provided in a timely way?

Activate the Change Leaders

It's not enough to have the talent and desire. You also need to be properly focused. Each person responds differently to rewards and recognition. For each of your team members and leaders consider the answers to this question:

" What mixture of fulfilling desires for recognition, reward, and feedback is right for each person to help him or her reach the highest level of performance?

In answering this question, remember that creativity researchers have found that rewards for being creative often backfire, while rewards for accomplishing a predefined implementation task usually work well. The best way to begin is by talking with each person about what motivates her or him for the tasks that need doing.

Copyright 2007 Donald W. MitchellFind Article, All Rights Reserved

Article Tags: Future Best, Ideal Best, Team Members, Help Them, Financial Incentives, Change Leaders, Each Person

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Donald Mitchell is CEO of Mitchell and Company, a strategy and financial consulting firm in Weston, MA. He is coauthor of six books including The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, and The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook. You can find free tips for accomplishing 20 times more by registering at: ====> .

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