What if you succeeded despite your best efforts?

Imagine a post apocalyptic setting where hundreds of years in the future someone discovered a functioning microwave. They do a dance of excitement, button smash the microwave, and accidentally start it up. Going forward, they believe they have to dance before splaying their hand in a certain pattern to start the microwave.

We all experience some form of this where an activity delivers what we want even though we’re not actually doing it very well.

As it relates to growth, what is effective is rarely improved to an excellent standard of function. We get something working well enough and then we just move on. And most of the time what we move on to doesn’t work at all.

This implies a huge opportunity to increase productivity in your business system. If you’re a coffee shop that gets customers through sidewalk traffic, rather than advertise in the local paper, you would be better served to figure out if you’re getting as many pedestrians as is possible.

Endeavoring to do this creates another big opportunity: mastery.

When you have mastery over elements of a system, you have leverage to create new opportunities.

If you discovered that capturing foot traffic to your coffee shop was largely based on people wanting breakfast sandwiches, you might put up an A-frame outside saying “Breakfast Sandwiches.” This would increase the productivity of that channel- the first benefit.

But if you realized that there was a temporal context to what people wanted, you might use this mastery to switch out your A-frame to “Lunch Sandwiches” at noon or “Hot Sandwiches” in the winter.

The key to all of this is reduction. Figuring out what is essential by removing elements and then testing how to amplify it.

Reduce. Isolate. Test. Learn. Innovate.

Enso featured image is By Kanjuro Shibata XX “Ensō (円相)” – Own work, uploaded by Jordan Langelier from his personal collection under CC BY-SA 3.0. “…a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two uninhibited brushstrokes to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create.”