I recently held a small gathering of Chief Innovation Officers from some of the world’s largest and most innovative companies. While most of the content is proprietary from the meeting, the one most insightful observation was one CEO’s approach to evaluating project presentations from project/product managers. His first question: what problem are you trying to solve? Makes sense right, the new idea needs to address a problem/a consumer need. Then the CEO looks for “the big lie” in the rest of the presentation. Most presentations at this level are well honed, but in his experience, many contain one big lie. Many times, the big lie is one of the following three:
- The customer wants this new product.
- I can make this new product for THIS price.
- The customer will pay XX for this new product.
This particular CEO has seen that most projects have one of these “lies” at the heart of the project.
Got me to thinking…
What’s my big lie, around my life, my mission, my career, my story? We all have a story about our life and our mission. Story telling is a large part of the Corporate Athlete Course that I taught last year. See my mission in a previous blog.
What are the common big lies in career stories? Here are a few that I regularly see:
- I have a value prop for this company that is unique.
- My value prop is stronger than most other candidates.
- I’ve done the research and I know there is a good cultural fit.
I think big lies in career stories deserves another blog for another day. I’m thinking more philosophically right now, so I’ll ask an even bigger question:
What are the common big lies in life stories?
- Fine thank you, how are you?
- Yes, I’m happy.
- It’s going well.
Jim Loehr, a co-founder of Human Performance Institute, who developed the Corporate Athlete Course, wrote a book The Power of Story: Change Your Story, Change Your Destiny in Business and in Life. He gives insight into the power of recognizing and writing your old story—those things you keep telling yourself that prevent you from realizing your mission, and then writing your new story. He suggests reading and re-reading your new story until you start to live it.
My friend Seth Barnes and I went for a 5 mile run. What I like about runs is that you are trapped. You kind of have to talk. And what I like about Seth is that he doesn’t allow lies in conversations. He probes, he prods, he listens without judgment. I worked out more in our 45 minutes than I could in days of counseling.
So, two questions to leave you with:
What lies are you telling yourself?
Who is in your life that will listen to you truth?