Employ Breakthrough Thinking for Extraordinary Results

Steve Jobs’ medical leave from Apple got me thinking once again about his remarkable ability to produce breakthrough thinking. And how his talent invariably generates pioneering products that deliver extraordinary results.

Mr. Jobs may be blessed with such a gift, but you also can employ breakthrough thinking to develop rewarding insights for your organization. You need only to take a few steps for your journey. First, start in the future and work your way back. Don’t let anything limit your crystal-gazing.

  • Generate a vision for the future you imagine and then clearly think through what pioneering advances you wish to make in products, services or ideas and what it will require to achieve them.  This intense exercise will help you fold the future back into the present.
  • Champion the future you wish to create. This way, you learn to act and make decisions consistent with where you are going rather than merely improving on the present.  With practically each new product it introduces, Apple bedazzles techies and rivals with its sheer inventiveness.  That’s a Jobs’ trademark. What’s yours?
  • Develop a clear context for what you’re imagining but also establish a broad content framework.  This ensures you don’t limit yourself and also sets purposeful parameters for your goals. At Allied Domecq PLC, I set out to reinvigorate sales growth for its well-known liquor brands, but I applied different approaches to each. An innovative marketing approach to key influencers jumpstarted Courvoisier sales, while repositioning and repackaging helped contemporize its Beefeater and Sauza Tequila brands.
  • Apply passion and purpose to your journey.  Be ecstatic about where you’re headed to draw disciples and ambassadors to your side. But, always stay consistent with your values and with a concern for your personal and organizational integrity.
  • Empower your disciples, whether they’re employees, investors or the public, so they can help you construct, execute and realize your dream.
  • Lead, by all means. Coach. Guide. Teach skills. Energize.
  • Then during each step, manage the conversation carefully.  Keep it real.

In your quest, you need remember just five words: possibility, opportunity, action, result, reward.