As a Libra I find that I am always, always, and constantly looking at both sides of any situation. I thought that I was doomed to weigh all my options forever, sometimes until the opportunity passed me by. As an entrepreneur, I frequently find myself in that same place, having to choose between 2 apparently opposite directions or having to make 2 people align who appear to be on opposite sides of the table.
When the consequences of being wrong are too high to risk a mistake, or it just does not feel right, look at blending the benefits and minimizing the downside. Either way, ultimately, as the boss, you have to make things work.
My strategy at these times is to build a bridge…I take the time to look at what works about both options. I explore in what way I could use the best of both options to create a third, unique, and sometimes very original direction that the either/or choice would not have produced.
Here are 5 steps to connect opposing ideas with Creative Fusion:
1. Let go: Sometimes leaders and teams are so attached to what they think their business, marketing plan, speed of delivery, and/or results should look like, that they lose sight of the fact that they created them in the first place. Let go of the picture and look newly. Stop “shoulding” on your team and/or business. Remember, there is not one way anything and whenever it “should” be a certain way we are closing off our ability to create dramatically.
2. Mashup: List the best benefits and features of both/all choices and prioritize them. There are likely great benefits to both options and pitfalls or weaknesses to both. You may see real similarities or overlaps, there may be holes in each that the blend fills.
3. Common Ground: What are the unifying aspects of both options? What do we lose if we give up _____? How do we soften or even remove the downside? Does it serve our customer as well as each of the original choices? Why (or why not)?
4. Pick it Apart: With a light heart and joy, have a team meeting and invite everyone there to tell you why it won’t work. Look at the product itself, but also look at how your customer base will embrace it. Is it fun enough? Effective enough? Did you compromise on anything? Where are you selling out? Let them be very frank… because your customers will be!
5. Taste Test: Get feedback from customers (or users outside the company) by either beta testing or seed launching. Track results, upgrade, and repeat as needed.
If this exercise is needed to work with people who are not aligning, do steps 1 and 2 and 3. If it is a deep-seated issue skip #4 and go straight to #5 only have the feedback loop inside the company with the relevant team members they work with.
Building a bridge is about making things work. Ultimately being a successful entrepreneur comes down to how you get through your stopping blocks. Every successful business owner has had many opportunities to give up. Literally every single one. It is not whether you will get stopped but when and more importantly, how long you linger there!