A few years ago, I was meeting with company managers to discuss our goals for the next fiscal year.
The managers looked at their accounting numbers and told me, “We grew 30 percent last year, so we are going to grow at 30 percent this year.”
I asked them, “Why are you predicting the current year’s market opportunities based on last year’s growth rate?” In my eyes they were limiting the company’s potential by presuming that they would not exceed the previous year’s growth rate. In essence they were limiting the future based on experiences from the past.
I challenged them instead to set future goals based on what they wanted the company to become.
As we began to identify the many market opportunities, the managers began to see numerous possibilities. Eventually, they saw the tremendous potential for growth beyond that original 30 percent. The “stretch goal” I had proposed now seemed very possible.
All it took was a different perspective. The managers understood that when they looked beyond their past reality and seized current opportunities they opened up unlimited possibilities.
Whether you are a manger asked to grow a company, a parent raising children or a social innovator taking on complex global issue, leadership takes this kind of innovation.