Trying to generate new revenue is hard.
You and your team already have an immense workload, existing goals and deadlines and it’s hard to make time to think creatively.
The very idea of taking on a new project makes you tired thinking about it.
I know — i have been there.
Yet creating new revenue growth can be done and it is not as painless as you think.
Here are my 5 suggestions based on years of helping managers and leaders as a strategic planning facilitator.
1. Form a cross-functional team
Almost by definition you cannot challenge the status-quo if you look at the situation in the same way.
Hence you need a divergence of perspectives that comes from a cross-functional team.
The ideal team is one that consists of people that are close to the problem and leaders that are new to it.
Also throw together the young and up and coming managers with the more experienced ones and see what happens.
2. Give the team a non business-as-usual goal
To break out of the business-as-usual cycle you need to start by creating a non business-as-usual goal.
For example, I recently worked with a supermarket chain and their goal was to develop a range of $20 million dollar ideas that could be tested by the end of the year.
This is a wonderful example of setting a specific, challenging target (i.e. the what) yet giving enough freedom to explore many different options as to how this can be achieved (i.e. the how).
3. Set an unrealistic timetable of 4 – 6 weeks to prepare an initial recommendation
I have worked on a number of projects where the time frame was set at 6 months.
The problem with this time scale is that it is too long and people lose enthusiasm and get sucked back into their usual role.
The other major issue is that team members can spend a great deal of time on a project and they find that after 6 months the opportunity is not as big as anyone imagined.
It is better therefore to set a goal of say 4 – 6 weeks where the team has to come back with a recommendation as to the size of the opportunity and whether the team should move forward or not on it.
The other advantage is that you can engage and excite busy managers and leaders for 4-6 weeks rather than 6 months.
4. Present the recommendation to the senior leadership team.
One of the most exciting aspects of forming such a team is the idea that the recommendations are to be presented to (ideally) the CEO and a senior leadership team.
This gives the younger leaders some exposure to the senior leaders and provides a focus for the team.
It also ensures that if the opportunity is a good one than it can be funded immediately.
5. Give people some time off for the project and recognise their contribution
Another problem with this type of approach which should be avoided is that managers are asked to do their usual jobs and contribute to this project.
As I mentioned this can be achieved for a short period of time only.
But it is much better to give busy leaders say 1 to 2 days off a week for the length of the project and to ensure that their efforts are reflected in their goals or KPI’s.
In this way you have built into the project a tangible reward and recognition mechanism.
Forming cross-functional teams to disrupt the market and create new growth opportunities is a necessity for any successful business.
It not only can drive new revenue growth in the future but create wonderful learning opportunities for all team members.
I have created, designed and facilited many of these projects and would love to help you.
But start now — run a pilot one and get going and see what happens.