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

by | Apr 12, 2024 | Creativity, Entrepreneurship

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 (

Winning by Thinking Backwards (

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 Visit

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Who is Rebecca Shafir? Speech/language pathologist, author, voice and executive function coach
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