I am amazed that the show “Let’s Make A Deal” is still so popular after 50 years. Yes, this year, 2013, the show turned fifty years strong. Starting in 1963 and having various hosts and enduring numerous recessions, wars and prosperity, the show has continued to survive and thrive on a very basic premise, ‘Choices.’
They say art mimics life. This show is proof of that. Take a basic concept of making choices of unpredictable outcomes, and add lights, loud clamber, funny costumes and thousands of people who want to make it rich and you get life and a long-lasting television show. Surprisingly, there is a lesson in all this. A lesson businesses and start-ups can learn from.
Choice is a very powerful thing. It can be exciting, dreadful, painstaking, crippling and even boring at times, but choice is still something we have full control over even if we don’t think we do. Starting a business, project or even launching a new product or service, we have choices to make. Just like the show, most of those decisions are made blindly without knowing the repercussions of that decision. Your choices may bring riches or you may get zonked. That choice you make is the one you must live by. And that goat you got zonked by, will cost you more than it’s worth. Luckily, that’s where the similarities to the television show can end.
Unlike the game show, you can avoid playing the mystery game of choosing a door and then living with the consequences, you can be more strategic if you do one thing first….
Have A Good Plan
I know, sounds so obvious so why spend my time writing about starting any endeavor with a plan? Because many people start a project, career or business with only half a plan. Yes half, at best. Roughly laid out, all expectations of success and no fall back, exiting or alternative strategy put into place. The belief that a single idea (the game show door analogy) will bring you success. This is where adding a bit of pre-planning to your plan pays off big time and those doors, well now you can create the option to choose the next one if you don’t like what’s behind door number 2.
As I always state ‘the best plan is one everyone can see.’ Making a visual plan (utilizing graphics and text) let’s you do two very important things. First, by drawing out your plan, you actually begin (th)INKing about it in a different way. You offer yourself a second opinion on your own idea so that the glow of that idea (imagine a bright light bulb) does not blind you. By creating a visual map, you can begin seeing the stages and obstacles along the process or journey of your endeavor before stepping through and accepting a single choice and dealing with being zonked.
The second and greatest thing about creating a visual map, is that others can see your idea also. Visuals offer a greater clarity to complex ideas. When others can see what you are planning, the opportunity to discover gaps, obstacles and even secondary strategies is created. This process is called collaboration and is a dynamic toll in achieving success. Having a visual map also increases the ability for others to remember the idea long after you present it to them. This is very powerful when sharing your idea, business concept or project with possible mentors or even financial backers. They remember longer with greater detail. They can see what you see.
Life imitates art that imitates life. Before you make that deal for success or to be zonked, put your plan on paper. Go beyond pure text, add images and pictures to show what you are thinking about. Show your plan. It’s easier to explain and far stronger of a tool than mere words. Also, it’s okay if you can’t draw like an artist, draw like a planner…. keep it sketchy, keep sketching, because when you sketch out ideas, you’re actually (th)INKing better and clearer.