Many businesses use tools and techniques like SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities) analysis to examine competitive actions and to plan business growth initiatives. Yet, these meetings often conclude with few actionable or innovative ideas.
Consider a new tool, "Kill the Company" based upon Lisa Bodell's new book of the same title. In Kill the Company, employees are encouraged to take an outside view of their own firm and create ways that they, as a competitor, would put them out of business. Employees are energetically engaged in the activity and with their inside knowledge can come up with great ideas.
Killing the company begins with storytelling as employees design ways to put the firm out of business. Knowing that the company has a weakness in its distribution chain, employees will craft narratives to exploit the weakness. Employees are often more engaged and creative in an environment where they design stories to kill the company rather than a dull competitive analysis resulting in lengthy to-do lists.
For example, a kill the company idea might be to offer products at no charge to customers. That certainly would put a firm out of business! Yet, the idea has a seed of an innovative marketing campaign built into it. The company might consider giving away free products when the customer buys a service package. Or a retail firm could offer "buy one, get one free" promotions to target customers.
Business growth depends on creative ideas and staying one step ahead of the competition. Considering a new viewpoint – as a competitor from the outside of your company – might just offer a keen insight to a strategic growth path you'd never before examined.
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