Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

The Moon Shot

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From Jeremy: This is a guest post by J.D. Meier, author of Getting Results the Agile Way.  To read more from J.D. visit his blog.

We have a little saying at work that goes like this:

What’s the Moon Shot?

By Moon Shot, we mean, how are you going to go for the moon? What is your big, bold, stretch goal that will radically change your game?

Big bold goals change the world. Or, at least they force you to re-think it.

Figuring out your Moon Shot helps you break out of incremental thinking. It gets you thinking exponentially. When you try to change something by a factor of 10, or 1000%, it forces you to see the challenge in a brand new way.

If you’re an author with five books, what would it take to get to a portfolio of 50? If you’re business has 3 clients, what would it take to get to 30? If you can produce 10 widgets a day, what would it take to produce 100 a day? This helps you establish your future capability vision.

Moon Shots help you dream big.

Where’s the Bottleneck?

Of course, as soon as you figure out your Moon Shot, the next question might be, “What stops you?” or “How can you reach your Moon Shot?”

There’s a tool for this. It’s the Theory of Constraints (TOC.) The big idea behind the Theory of Constraints, is that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. What’s your weakest link, when it comes to achieving your big, audacious goal? In other words, what’s the biggest bottleneck that limits you?

Is it time? … Is it money? … Is it people? … Is it technique?

You can test what you think the constraint is, by asking some questions.  For example, if money were not an issue, how many widgets could you produce in a single day? Or, with the current process, what’s the most anybody has ever produced in the world, using the same process?

What you’ll often find is that it’s not just money, or time, or people, or skills. There’s usually something specific that you need to do, that’s below surface level.

Identifying the Bottleneck Helps You Eliminate the Bottleneck

Here’s a story to put this into action. I was on a team where there were several smart people that had a bunch of brilliant ideas that they could talk about all day. However, the ideas were no good, unless they were turned into writing.

The bottleneck was literally writing down the ideas that spewed freely from the master minds.

The problem was that these master minds were good at sharing their ideas verbally, but not at writing them down.

Once we identified this as the single biggest bottleneck holding our group back, we realized that what we needed to do was to hire more technical writers to put more of the ideas down on paper.

While it sounds obvious in retrospect, it’s not always obvious to ask the question, “Where’s the bottleneck?”, and to dig for it deeply. Finding the bottleneck can reveal amazing opportunities for transforming your process, and transforming your business.

Walt Disney taught us,

It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.

Use your Moon Shots to expand your thinking to 10X your impact. Use the Theory of Constraints to de-bottleneck what’s possible.

Go make big things happen.

What’s your Moon Shot for this year?

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About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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7 Replies

  1. Love this idea! A simple way to challenge ourselves to dream bigger. Nice post!

  2. J.D. Meier

    Thank you Tammy.
    I’m a fan of big dreams and bigger possibilities, and I love what we’re capable of … when we find the keys to uncork ourselves.

  3. Alik Levin

    Good idea. It’s easy to forget about the big dream or about the larger impact one could make behind those little daily tasks. Asking this simple question and then the follow up questions defiantly helps to bring a new fresh view on what’s possible at larger scale.

  4. J.D. Meier

    Sometimes we rule out big dreams because we don’t think we’re capable, or they are just too far out of reach.
    When we start asking what holds us back or what’s the bottleneck, it suddenly makes our big dreams tangible, or at least gets us going in the right direction.

  5. I agree. It’s easy to sell ourselves short. I like the idea of developing the habit of asking if we can do more, because most of the time, we can.

  6. Far too often we stop short thinking we can’t do more, but most of the time we probably can.

  7. Amancha Krishna Murthy

    I follow your suggestions and get back soon

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