Nobody Told You What Not To Do

Scouring the internet reveals pretty quickly that there’s advice on everything. As a professional, you’ve likely turned to all-mighty Google more than a handful of times for clarity or even a place to start when given a new project or considering how to change existing systems or protocols at your business. From TED talks to top-ten lists, all too often it becomes too many cooks in the kitchen.  

Say you’re looking for solutions to a commoditization problem: You’re a business that is often bought and sold based on price BUT you want to be considered for the value—and values—you bring to the table rather than race other companies to the bottom. 

You might come across the following: 

  • Focus on social media: It’s a great tool to showcase your culture and employees and stand out in the crowd. 
  • Review and develop new scripts with your sales people to ensure they’re staying on message about why you are different and what makes you different. 
  • Be sure to point out the added value you bring to the table in direct comparison with your competition! 
  • Allow your sales team to create their own messaging. They have more customer interaction, so it’s likely they have a better understanding of why people do business with you. 
  • Tap the marketing team for an awareness campaign to find out what they think people need to hear about your business. 
  • Bring in an outside agency to interview clients. They’ll provide valuable insight about what your business truly offers.

All of these are excellent pieces of advice in SOME specific situations. Taken together, however, they become a jumbled mess of tactics that can stretch an organization to its limits, fail to synergize, and in some cases actively contradict one another. 

At Burgard, we understand the value of great ideas . . . but we also coach our clients to consider that there is equal, if not greater, value in knowing what NOT to do. The following are a few of the techniques we employ and suggest to make your brainstorming or strategy-gathering sessions yield manageable and executable results: 

Risk–reward ratio.

Consider the risk of each idea. What are you sacrificing to execute it? What is the cost in dollars, hours, and energy? What happens if the idea fails? On the other side, what stands to be gained? What are the chances it will succeed? How efficient is the plan? Things NOT to do typically have a risk equal to or greater than the corresponding reward. 

Timeline exploration.

Some ideas take a long time to execute. Some can be executed quickly but scale over a much longer time. Some require a lot of maintenance or commitment. And sometimes a strategy might be quick and easy and bring immense rewards. Define the timelines you can work with and eliminate anything that doesn’t fit your calendar for whatever it is you’re trying to achieve.  

Values alignment.

Every organization has its own set of principles that govern all aspects of the business. In most cases, this is distilled into a mission/vision statement, set of core values, or both. Consider how each solution to the problem you’re trying to fix lines up with the values of your business. This can be a quick way to weed out solutions that, regardless of their business viability, might not FEEL good or—when all is said and done—reflect well on your business.  


Did you learn something new, or perhaps you have a question? We’d love to hear from you!

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