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Working Backwards

by admin on February 01, 2010

In order to
make your dreams and objectives a reality, you absolutely have to work backwards. You have to first identify and articulate your goals, and then find the means to achieve those objectives. Instead of flying by the seat of your pants, reverse engineering makes it possible for entrepreneurs to align all of their daily tasks and operations around achieving overarching objectives.

Reverse Engineering is something I use all of the time now, but it wouldn’t be what it is today if I hadn’t attended an EO meeting in 1998.  At that lunch meeting, we were introduced to the concept of ‘visualization’ in sports, which is a technique athletes use. It involves imagining what success looks like in your mind, no matter what the sport, and executing based on that. Whether you’re a long distance runner imagining crossing the finish line or a basketball player who envisions taking it to the hoop, visualization helps you make your dreams a reality. This information, presented by an Olympic coach, further reinforced my belief that if you identify what you want the future to look like—whether for yourself or your organization—you’re going to make it a reality as long as you take the steps necessary to reach your goal. In business settings, calling this the ‘Vivid Vision (formerly Painted Picture)’ demonstrates to entrepreneurs that if you commit to sketching your vision for the future, you’re well-equipped to “reverse engineer” your own success.

Even with my earliest business ventures with College Pro Painters it was all about starting with the profit goal and working it all backwards to figure out what needed to be done to get there.  This is a core concept I use in all the CEO Mentoring I do today.

For more information on this topic, check out: Building a World Class Culture and Leadership at 100MPH.

3 thoughts on “Working Backwards”

  1. Cameron,
    Thanks for sharing, great stuff. What do you recommend for how often the painted picture is read/viewed? Daily? Also are there any specifics to how it is written (present tense) and what areas it should cover? (finances, career, etc?) I presume this works for all areas of development (company goals, personal health goals, financial goals) Thanks,

    1. For sure read it each 2-3 months – and have your employees do the same. It provides great focus and keeps burning it in.

      Write it in the present tense – here is an example – scroll to the bottom for mine –

      Write it in the present tense – describing what you see three years out. Check out the other blog posts Under the Category Painted Picture here too.

      And yes – same concept works for personal stuff too.

      Share it with everyone.

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