Your boss just emailed you saying he wants to talk tomorrow morning launching a dormant product in the portfolio.Great. Right?
If you're like most people, your brain will start firing on all cylinders at this point, formulating a plan, thinking of supporting research you can bring.
But, how should you make this plan?
Should you start with the first step and work towards your goals? Or should you think backwards from the result you want and find where your future and present meet up?
How you choose to build your path to success can have a major impact on the outcome.
Backward planning leads to higher levels of success
Researchers ran a series of studies asking participants to plan for an important event or goal, like the meeting with their boss or launching their new company. In one study, they asked students to create a study plan for a final exam in either chronological or reverse order.
After the exam, they compared the students' results against their planning method and found those who planned backwards performed much better than those who planned forward.
Backward planning keeps the final goal always in sight
The researchers attributed these results to the fact that when we're told to start at our goal, it makes it feel more attainable and closer to coming true.
They also found that people perceived they had a clearer set of steps to hitting their goal when planning backwards and felt more confident in the choices they were making.
That is, because they know where they want to end up and where they are now, they were essentially 'filling in the blanks' rather than facing a wide array of options of how to get from their current position to their end goal.
Using backward planning in your own life
So how does this apply to our original scenario: the big boss meeting?
You might know that you need to gather documents, do further research, talk through your pitch with a friend, and choose the right clothes for the meeting. But instead of thinking what you can do now and then being left with a multitude of paths to get to the successful meeting, start with the very last essential step and work backwards.
Reframing your company’s struggle leads to different results.
Redefining the path to success
It is so easy to get lost in new opportunities, new technologies and new trends in business. I like to keep my clients mindful that there are only 3 ways to be successful in business.
Increase SALES, increase MARKET SHARE or Increase PROFIT.
Example. If you want to increase market share, you need more loyal people. To have more loyal people, you need to increase the emotional benefit we offer people. To increase the emotional benefit, the brand needs to show why they make the product they make. To measure if more people love the product I need to measure love not views.
Doing it this way it is easy to understand that to cut through the noise is not smart to create more noise, more ads, more posts.
When you have 3 clear objectives and 3 clear paths to each objective, everything becomes clear. You stop wasting energy on posts about “happy new years” if it is not linked to your brand. I will use NIKE as an example.
To increase sales, Nike shows innovation in technology.
To increase market share, Nike shows how their product gets you up and running. They created a fight against laying on the couch to increase the love people feel for the brand.
To increase profit, Nike sponsored people in the tribe you want to be part of, the athletes. You are willing to pay more to belong to Nike.
Doing this creates an easy model to follow in all areas of work, not just marketing.
Especialista em publicidade e pioneiro na criação de uma estratégia de sucesso baseada em comportamento. É fundador e Chief Creative Strategist da agência Nylon, uma das mais premiadas em Portugal.