The 10x Question

Published on
May 26, 2014
Chris Taylor
"Ideas are only valuable when applied."
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“How would you accomplish your goals if they were 10-times larger than what they actually are today?”

I raised this question with the Actionable Books team at our last annual retreat. Unanimously, it was the most interesting and exciting exercise we went through and continues to be something the team references regularly, even 8 months later. I strongly believe it’s one of the key reasons we grew by over 120% this year. And here’s why:

Asking the 10x question expands your thinking. It shifts your brain from incremental – a little more of the same thing – to exponential – entirely new offerings, systems and support. ie. “things we’ve never tried before”. The goal here is to get out of the weeds of tasks and projects-to-be-completed and to look at your existing challenges with fresh eyes.

Indirectly, this “10x question” is one of the reasons I moved to rural Spain. Prior to the move, a sizeable chunk of our company revenues was coming from my hands-on client work – facilitation, coaching and consulting for clients, face to face. I was already working 60 hour weeks and, since I haven’t yet figured out how to work 600 hours per week, “more of the same” wasn’t an option. Instead, I created a situation that forced me to think differently about how we made money as a company. For consultants & coaches specifically, I think this kind of reframing is important, should they wish to ever grow beyond the “gun for hire” model. Granted, my decision to move continents to get away from the steady work was a bit more radical than most people would deem necessary, but it forced me to think about how to grow the business without the safety of the known; to remove the comparatively easy answer of “do more of what I’m already doing.”

The reason we use 10x as the benchmark, instead of 2x or 3x, is because 10x forces you to think differently. Pursuing 10x results requires you to change the actual work you’re doing. I want to make a point here – 10x growth is not actually the goal (in most cases). I’m quite content with the fact that we doubled revenues (2x) this year. The act of considering what it would take to grow ten-fold is, in and of itself, an exercise in thinking through leverage, systems and capacity, and will generate breakthrough ideas if you give it the energy it deserves.

Asking the question, and then working through the potential scenarios, can be powerful whether you work for yourself, someone else, lead a team or any combination therein.

What do you think? What would you do differently is you were in pursuit of 10x?

Specifically for consultants, we’re covering the topic of “growing beyond trading time for dollars” in a free webinar on Friday. Check it out, if you’re interested.