by Brian Turner

As a new leader, you have a window of time to take three big shots. What are those three shots going to be? They need to be specific enough to rally an organization and board around you, but flexible enough to allow you to adapt to changing market conditions.   

I’m a big believer in threes, from three key messages to three solutions to a challenge. And as I consider Point B’s future, I’m thinking about which three shots to take.

Most leaders, myself included, rarely start a new game. We are joining a game that’s already in motion – with set strategies, goals, teams and financial expectations. So, if the game is already being played, how do you create the space to envision the 3 shots you’ll take?

I’m often planting myself in the future – in 2023, or maybe even 2027.  While none of us can predict the future, this tactic allows me space to imagine a different path without getting caught in today’s constraints. I often dream about the news headlines that will be inspired by our work, how our customers and our employees will experience those headlines, and what impact that could create.  For example, what would it look like to be essential in the fight against emerging infectious diseases?  What would we need to be able to do to make that type of impact?  Who would we be serving and what types of talent would we need?

  • From that place, you can begin the hard work with your teams. 
  • What do our customers really need from us to solve that challenge? 
  • Why would they turn uniquely to us to solve it?
  • Is it a problem that’s truly worth solving for our customers and for our organization? 
  • Do we have the mindset and capability to solve it? 
  • Can we scale the solution to many places to have a broader impact? 
  • Is the financial path to success more like algebra (deductive problem solving) or more like calculus (inductive thinking)?

I find myself trying to simplify the questions and not get trapped in consultant speak.  I also try to provide simple “yes” and “no” answers to help us prioritize across the bets we could make – rather than getting stuck in the trap of “maybe” or “it depends.” 

And, as egocentric as it will sound, as an individual leader you have to ask yourself: Am I passionate enough about this opportunity to bank my organization’s future on it? To excite my teams to sprint up that mountain? The intersection of your team’s answers to your questions and your own reflection is where the insight will flow from, helping you decide if this is a bet worth making.