How and Why to Think Backwards to Achieve a Long Term Goal

Thinking backwards, also known as “backward induction” is a problem-solving technique commonly used in game theory and decision analysis. It involves starting with the desired outcome and working backward to determine the optimal sequence of actions or decisions to achieve that outcome. As a COREageous entrepreneur, you may find how thinking backwards helps move planning forward! Here are some benefits of thinking backwards compared to traditional problem-solving methods:

Thinking backwards from the desired outcome:

  • begins with a clear understanding of the desired outcome or goal. What is your vision? Like a movie in your head, how does your goal play out when it is achieved?
  • encourages systematic planning by breaking down complex problems into smaller, more manageable steps. By focusing on the end result first, you can more effectively identify and walk back the steps needed to reach that goal. This approach helps you visualize the sequence of actions going backwards from the end to the start.
  • helps you identify the most rational or optimal decisions at each step of the problem-solving process. By considering the potential consequences of different choices and working backward from the desired outcome, you can make more informed decisions.
  • can lead to more efficient problem-solving by eliminating unnecessary steps or considerations. By focusing on the most critical aspects of a problem, individuals can save time and resources.
  • backward induction allows for flexibility in adapting to changing circumstances. You can adjust your plan as new information becomes available or as the situation evolves.

Here’s how it might look to achieve a specific business goal:

End Goal: Ensure the long-term success and growth of the startup.

Step 1: Assess the current market landscape, including customer needs, competitor offerings, and industry trends.

Step 2: Identify any signs that the current product or service offering is not meeting market demand or achieving the desired traction.

Step 3: Evaluate potential alternative directions or pivots for the company’s product or service, such as targeting a different customer segment, adjusting the pricing strategy, or introducing new features.

Step 4: Analyze the potential impact of each pivot option on the company’s resources, team, timeline, and overall vision.

Step 5: Determine the most viable pivot option based on the analysis and the potential to achieve the end goal of long-term success and growth.

Step 6: Develop a strategic plan and roadmap for implementing the chosen pivot, including timelines, resource allocation, and key milestones.

Step 7: Communicate the decision and plan to stakeholders, including employees, investors, and customers, to ensure alignment and support.

Step 8: Execute the pivot plan effectively, monitoring progress closely and making adjustments as needed to maximize success.

Overall, thinking backwards instead of making it up as you go along offers a systematic and strategic approach to problem-solving that can help you achieve your desired outcome more effectively and efficiently compared to traditional methods.

Enjoy more on this topic:

The Backward Law: How Thinking In Reverse Can Improve Your Life (theknowledge.io)

Winning by Thinking Backwards (colemaninsights.com)

In CoreCoaching we go from a vision of your venture and work it backwards, step by step. Interested in giving it a try? Contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com. Visit MindfulCommunication.com

How and Why to Add Humor to Your Day

Consider adding a daily dose of belly laughter to your routine! Problems, frustrations and worries take their toll on our health. Meditation, exercise, journaling etc. are all very helpful, but my observations suggest that a good belly laugh should be in the mix.

In the last few weeks, I experimented with adding a few minutes of a belly laugh segment (my choices include Monty Python and old skits from SNL from YouTube) and noted its effect on my energy, my outlook and, most importantly, the creativity and efficiency of my coaching sessions. I can say with confidence that all improved as a function of my belly laugh routine.

Steve Wilson, author of the book “Good Hearted Living,” states that heavy attitudes can get in the way of the “lightness” in our lives, so we don’t laugh as much as we need to. You certainly could use a daily dose(s) of laughter if you find yourself stuck in any one or several of these attitudes:

  • Judgmentalism.
  • Rigidity.
  • Being unappreciative.
  • Mean-spiritedness.
  • Anger.
  • Racing and hurrying.
  • Workaholism.

Laughter brings the focus away from anger, guilt, stress, and negative emotions in a more beneficial way than other mere distractions.

On a physical level a good bout of laughter exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs, and even works out tension in the shoulders, leaving muscles more relaxed afterward.

It provides a good workout for the heart.

Furthermore, a good belly laugh gives our respiratory system a massive workout, strengthening the lungs and furthering their health.

And there’s more. Did you know that laughter can be contagious? It’s not only good for you but hearing or watching someone else splitting their sides laughing can lift your mood. I remember, years ago, after a long and tiring day calling my mother and hearing my Dad in the background laughing uproariously at a Marx Brothers movie. Even over the phone and at a distance, his laughter was infectious – it refreshed my day!

Let’s experiment right now! Watch this short skit from an old Carol Burnett show. I hope our humor aligns somewhat so you can get a feel for the effects of what I’ve been talking about! Otherwise choose another YouTube video and see how the rest of your day goes. Then, share the clip with someone who could use a good laugh.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h66p3gW82bM

Consider working in a daily dose of laughter into your day and see what happens!

Stay COREageous!

Need a healthy routine for being your best self? Contact me at Rebecca@ MindfulCommunication.com. Visit MindfulCommunication.com.

Managing Drama in Your Startup

According to a new book, No Ego by business consultant Cy Wakeman, the average worker spends 2.5 hours per day distracted by drama! We’ve all experienced varying degrees of workplace drama in other jobs – personal losses, power struggles, insubordination, office gossip and petty arguments.  Until you start a business of your own, you may not be aware of how significantly drama can hurt your bottom line. How to manage workplace drama is not typically noted in the founder’s play book. If no drama has spiked in your startup thus far, good for you, but unless you’re working with robots, it’s inevitable.

The usual sources of drama in a startup can be traced to hires without proper job descriptions, under-performing or disgruntled employees, changes in procedures, slow periods and accelerated periods where the company has to scale up quickly. Another source of drama is the life of the employee. Just as employees bring the work stress home with them, employees bring their home traumas to work. Let me address some solutions the “trauma to drama” variety.

Most CEOs want to create an open, caring work environment where people look forward to coming to work. The workplace  may be the only safe and inspiriting environment in some people’s lives.  I support mindful listening as a way to understand an employee who is experiencing personal problems outside of work. Listening wholeheartedly to an employee can help you gauge the intensity and duration of the situation so as to come up with solutions that will prevent company losses. It is the responsibility of the employee, not the employer, to ultimately solve his/her personal problems. It must be made clear that work is not a counseling center or a rehab. His or her fellow employees are not being paid to be social workers. Allowances such as a more flexible schedule, an extended lunch hour or such accommodations are appropriate. A business may have to find some temporary coverage, and if possible, the employee may need to train the temp. Your HR department may assist in finding counselors or support groups. But, I suggest that a business set in advance, reasonable limits to these assists. Meet with your staff and talk about what to do if such drama erupts.

More to come on workplace drama in future blogs.

Are you the frequent victim or the instigator of drama at your workplace? Being one or the other could cost you your job or your career. If that’s you, let’s discuss! Rebecca@mindfulcommunication.com      

If Your Creativity Needs a Kick, Seek Unusual Sources

You may have your new product or service up and running, or you’re in the process of getting your new business off the ground. It’s frustrating to lack new ways to be competitive and for solving day-to-day problems.  We typically rely on our experience, knowledge, self-help books and the wisdom of industry leaders for solutions, but sometimes we have to get out of our closed circle of reference and seek “a refresh” from unexpected sources.

As a coach, it’s up to me to offer fresh eyes and new perspectives for my clients to explore. When I feel even close to getting bored with my usual strategies and tactics, I’m curiously drawn to books like The Men Who Changed the Course of American History, Tripping Over the Truth, Stories From Shakespeare, The Alchemist, or collections of mystery stories. Movies like Midnight in Paris or The Darkest Hour remind me, in contrasting ways, that it’s okay to listen to my gut, change my mind and inspire others to do the same. Any books or movies that have to do with discovery or attempts to solve difficult problems of all sorts should be on your list. Perhaps these books and movies won’t give you any direct answers or solutions, but they will add enlightening bits and pieces to what you already know and re-kindle your creative spark.

Need some fresh eyes to help solve a problem in your company? Get COREageous and contact me at Rebecca@mindfulcommunication.com        

A Vacation Alternative for Entrepreneurs

As entrepreneurship becomes more widespread, I suspect that the nature of “vacations” will change. For example, for the last few years my business and my husband’s business have not allowed for regular 1-2 week vacation slots. Like many other entrepreneurs, long breaks are not feasible for us right now. To make a vacation worthwhile, you’re supposed to come back well rested and full of energy. Airport hassles, crowds, tight schedules, and money you’d rather invest in smarter ways make those expectations unlikely. Perhaps you have elderly parents or family members that may need some urgent attention, and you’ll have to be available for them. You/we are not alone. Here’s something that has been working well for us I’d like you to try.

Carve out one hour a day for a vacation break. Prepare the walking shoes, the sunhat and somewhere to go in your mind — whatever you’ll need to escape for just one hour each day. In that hour you’ll escape from the office and think about a great vacation you took or one that you hope to take one day.  Subscribe to a hard copy adventure magazine you can lose yourself in (not on your phone!)  Plan a fabulous dinner you’d like to prepare. Get on a bike and allow yourself to focus on the environment around you.  Find some simple activities, ideally with a health component, that will sweep your mind and body away for 60 minutes. Just as with meditation, when thoughts of work or projects come into mind, let them fly by like passing birds. If planned well, this kind of vacation can enhance creativity and open up pockets of energy you can instantly apply to your work. These kinds of no-hassle vacations can be tremendously satisfying.  Plus, don’t be surprised if a terrific solution you’ve been seeking pops into your head during your “time off.” You’ll be close enough to your desk to put it in motion.

Make downtime an investment in your business.  CoreFour coaching can help make this valuable time beneficial to your business. Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com       

The Creativity of Constraint

Many of my clients are trying to start their ventures while maintaining full or part time jobs. A major complaint is finding the time to make progress towards their project. Their routine was so nice and neat before the ball wrecker of a startup came crashing in and challenged their time management skills. For a budding entrepreneur – it is now your “moment of truth.”  Do you cringe at the thought of keeping “a schedule” or being accountable for your time? I have a client who insists upon using the word “planner” because the thought of “a schedule” would constrain her spontaneity. These folks see a schedule as a tyrant, a force that denies their creativity and free-flowing nature. This must change.

Consider this: Some time constraint will make the best use of your creativity. When you block out regular chunks of time to work deeply on your project, that type of commitment will spur on a greater concentration of innovative thoughts and insights. With even small blocks of time set aside every day devoted to your project, your brainstorming will be more targeted. You will make small, but cumulative gains that amount to something tangible at the end of the week. An opened-ended “no plan” defies progress, invites distractions and draws you into the morass of Web-surfing and social media. How free-flowing will you feel when a year has passed without progress on your venture? Is it worth risking a little spontaneity to see your product or service taking shape? Create a structure that allows your true creative potential to emerge.

Do you need to be creative with time management? Would you like to be more thoughtful and productive with your time? Contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com   

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