Principles of Breakthrough: A Practical Guide for Leaders

D
Dhawal TankTrying to get 1% better each day

These Principles are distilled down based on the best practices of the most effective executives, consultants, and leaders in the world. They are just as applicable to marketing, sales, operations, as they do to human problems. You will find the definitions here will guide your thinking No matter how complex, immediate, or aggravating the challenge, this proven set of Principles can be applied to solve it. They are tested in the real world not just by me but by the hundreds of professionals who have created massive breakthroughs in their organizations through it. Don’t let their simplicity fool you. If they seem like common sense, ask yourself: have I applied this?

The Principles of
Organizational
Breakthroughs:
A Practical Guide for Leaders
Dhawal Tank
dtank.co
January 3, 2020
California, USA
Print, share, copy, this guide with your employees and colleagues as you see fit.
This work by Dhawal Tank is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-
NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ or
send a letter to Creative Commons, PO Box 1866, Mountain View, CA 94042, USA.
Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 2
Dear Organizational Leader,
To get the most out of these Principles, I recommended that you print
it out and keep it close to your desk.
Having it at hand means you will be able to quickly refer to it as you
face unique challenges in your business, non-profit, agency, or any
other type of organization you lead.
These Principles are distilled down based on the best practices of the
most effective executives, consultants, and leaders in the world.
They are just as applicable to marketing, sales, operations, as they do
to human problems. You will find the definitions here will guide your
thinking
No matter how complex, immediate, or aggravating the challenge, this
proven set of Principles can be applied to solve it. They are tested in
the real world not just by me but by the hundreds of professionals
who have created massive breakthroughs in their organizations
through it. Don’t let their simplicity fool you. If they seem like common
sense, ask yourself: have I applied this?
You will first go over the Principles in brief, and then you will see a
few examples on how you can apply them immediately.
To your breakthroughs,
Dhawal Tank
Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 3
The Principles
1.Start with a blank slate: Don't assume you know everything
about the situation. Approach it as an outsider.
2.Stop blaming: Believing that something is broken because
customers, employees, vendors, or market conditions are the
way they are is harmful. It also prevents you from seeing a
breakthrough solution. People act in their own self interest.
3.Articulate the Situation and the Outcome: It is not enough
to say that you have "a problem" with sales. What specifically?
And what specifically does a positive outcome look like?
4.Look for Inherent Simplicity: The roots of any challenge will
undoubtedly be tied in 1-2 causes. Fix these root causes and
you will breakthrough your business challenges.
5.Don't Focus on the Unimportant: Don't solve the
unimportant things. This is very tempting, but also useless.
6.Find the Unquestioned Assumption: At the heart of the root
cause of most business challenges is an assumption that has
gone unchallenged. What is yours?
7.Map Out the New Territory: Avoid that temptation of acting
right away. Instead, map out what the business looks like
once the new idea or assumption is involved. You will find
many ripple effects (positive and unexpected) that you can
plan for ahead of time.
8.Execute: Sell yourself the idea first, and then focus on selling
the idea to other stakeholders in terms that appeal to their
self-interest.
Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 4
Start With A Blank Slate
Idea
You got to be a leader by working hard and developing a level of
expertise about your field. This can be an asset, but it can also
prevent you from seeing your blind spots. It also prevents fresh
thinking to emerge. I have repeatedly seen an executive who
cannot see their blind spots and are stuck in stale thinking.
As a consultant, my primary work is often to introduce fresh
thinking to that executive and the organization. Sometimes it can
be from the same industry, or a different industry altogether.
Sometimes it’s a blind spot which the executive is adamantly
ignoring (but which everyone else can see from a mile away).
Application
Look at your work, your company, or your team from the
perspective of an outsider. If you cannot make yourself do that,
speak with a friend or colleague in another industry and get their
opinion.
Don’t use this as a medium of venting to others about how
challenging or bad things are. Be open to feedback and think
fresh. Being stuck in your head with the problem at hand can be
paralyzing.
A personal inventory to understand your blindspots can also be
helpful.
Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 5
Stop Blaming
Idea
Your employees, suppliers, customers, and other market
conditions are indifferent to your needs. While goodwill, trust, and
respect go a long way, understand that people act in their own
self-interest in the medium-term and long-term.
It is sometimes hard to decipher what their self-interest is, and at
times, it seems downright self-destructive (especially when it
comes to employees). Your job must be to understand what is in
the self-interest of each of the stakeholders you interact with.
Realize that your self-interest lies in catering to others’ self-
interests. This alone can cause a stuck situation to finally unlock.
Application
Make a list of all the stakeholders that are involved in the current
situation you are tackling. Customers, employees, vendors,
everyone.
Next, try to understand exactly what is most important to them. It
is not always money.
Third, develop a list of all the assets (hard and soft) that you can
offer them in return for what you want.
Finally, discuss with them about their interests. Offer what you
can, but also see how close to the mark you were.
Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 6
Articulate the Situation and Outcome
Idea
Do you have a clear idea of the exact problem you are trying to
solve/fix/manage? Clearly articulating the exact problem in directly
observable language (DOL) will do more to help you find a solution
than wildly throwing a bunch of ideas and hoping they stick.
E.g. It isn’t enough to say that you have a “problem with sales.”
What does this mean? Do you have a problem in keeping
salespeople, or is it the revenue generated per employee? Are
major customers leaving you or are you not able to find new
customers?
Therefore, you must clearly articulate the problem. And as best as
you can, articulate the outcome you would like if this problem was
solved properly.
Application
Write out (seriously), don’t just think abstractly exactly what you
see the problem/situation is in the most concrete terms possible.
E.g. Don’t just say “there is a problem with communication.” Write
out “there is no response to the emails asking for direct input.”
Next, think of answers exactly for the problem as you have
described in the most concrete terms possible. Fixing a
“communication problem” is hard. But fixing a problem to get
people to reply back to their emails is a directly observable.
Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 7
Look for Inherent Simplicity
Idea
You have to be convinced that there is simplicity at the root of any
situation you are facing. Complexity is a more appealing demon to
battle. The mind tends to complicate things more than it needs to
be. Resist that urge.
Pareto’s 80/20 rule applies. 80% of the things you see happen in
your organization, team, department, and in the marketplace can
be traced to 20% of causes. And in this world, the ratio is more like
95/5, or even 99/1. Find the minority of causes that moves the rest
of the tree and you will be significantly closer to solving the issue
at hand and creating a real breakthrough.
Application
As you write out the problem/situation and start thinking through
the solution/answer, you will see many branches start to form.
Your task is to trace these branches down to their very roots. In
almost every situation, the root causes can be traced down to just
1-2 causes.
A simple way to understand if you have arrived at a root cause is
to ask yourself: does this cause affect other things in my
team/organization/marketplace? Root causes should be playing a
disproportionate role and causing multiple waves in the situation
at hand.
The resulting clarity will be free you to see a breakthrough.
Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 8
Don’t Focus on the Unimportant
Idea
This is a corollary to the idea before. It will be tempting to go down
the wrong paths and work on a bunch of unimportant things. You
will be tempted to work on the effects themselves as opposed to
causes.
As a leader, your job is to work on the important problems or
opportunities at hand. The mind’s tendency is to focus on
immediate short term snap judgements. Resist the urge. By
systematic in your thinking and follow your analysis down to their
very roots.
Application
How do you know if you’re working on the unimportant things?
First, ask yourself: is this a cause or effect of the situation at hand?
Ask yourself: if I change/fix this, will this cause a substantial change
in the situation? In other words, will it fix the problem? If the
answer is no, or “just slightly” that’s when you know you are
working on the wrong problems.
Another question you can ask yourself is: “Does this thing I am
solving explain any other problems/situations?” A minor problem
will likely be isolated. A root cause will explain many other things
happening in the organization.
Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 9
Find the Unquestioned Assumption
Idea
This is another corollary to the idea of looking for inherent
simplicity.
At its heart, there is usually an assumption that has gone
unchallenged. A few decades back, it might have been “we cannot
sell over the Internet.” Today, it might be: “millennial employees
are too ___.” Or, the best of all, “this is just how we do things
around here.”
Ignoring this is dangerous. It is the reason why the big and mighty
companies often miss something big. It is the reason why 4/10
companies on the Fortune 500 review are gone from that list
within 10 years.
Application
Look at the unquestioned assumptions behind your employee
practices, your supplier and vendor relationships, or how you treat
your customers.
If an outsider comes and says “why do you do it this way?” and
your only answer is, “that’s just how we do it” or “company policy”,
maybe it’s time to question this assumption.
Breakthroughs happen when you challenge these unspoken
assumptions.
Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 10
Map Out the New Territory
Idea
The insights above will help you cut through the clarity and get
clear about the problem as well as the most effective solutions.
But before you decide the best of these options, think through the
downstream implications of that decision.
Since your solution tackles the root causes of your team,
organization, business or industry itself, you can definitely be
assured that whatever you implement will ripple throughout the
organization.
Application
For each solution you and/or your team have devised, study the
downstream impact on your finances, your cultural dynamic, your
relationships with your customers, vendors, and suppliers, and
finally in relation to the marketplace itself.
Your previous thinking about stakeholders’ self interest will help
you anticipate the impact. Your goal now is to mitigate unwanted
consequences and commit to the solution that maximizes the
benefits will minimizing the costs.
Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 11
Execute
Idea
You must sell yourself first. You and your leadership team must
commit to a solution and a course of action before you can
execute with the aid of your suppliers, vendors, employees, and
ultimately your customers to change your position in the
marketplace.
Execution always start with selling. Do not hesitate to walk people
through your thought process and paint a vision for them about
what the solution looks like.
Involve their self interest most of all. Help them see why it is in
their best interest to move along in executing on the desired
solution.
Application
Identify the people who need to be involved in this strategic
change. Identify the gaps that need to be filled. Identify a course of
action your existing stakeholders need to take, which ones need to
be let go and which ones need to be added in order to complete
the path to the destination.
Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 12
Implement the Principles in Your Organization
While the Principles above are simple, as you start applying them
you will realize that they can be uncommonly hard to implement.
Sometimes, you need an external voice to dig into your
organization, see the unseen parts of your business, and question
the assumptions that need to be challenged.
This is my work.
I provide strategic consulting work to organizational leaders across
the US, Canada, and Europe. This includes leading workshops and
speaking in any stage of thinking, deciding, inspiring/moving
people, and executing on a strategic change.
This is how the process typically works:
Step 1
Fill out the Contact Form – Describe the issue you are dealing
with and what your attempts at solving them so far have included.
You can be as brief or as detailed as you want. This call is 100%
confidential and can come with a NDA if required and requested.
Step 2
Go through Clarity Call - Lasting between 30-75 minutes, we will
go through the call and understand the outcomes you are aiming
Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 13
for, apply the principles above, and figure out areas of greater
exploration. My goal here is to start creating clarity for you.
Step 3
If appropriate, receive a plan of action - We will determine in
the call itself if we have the ability to work together. If we do,
expect to receive a simple proposal within 24 hours on how you
can create the outcome you want.
Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 14
Frequently Asked Questions
What are your fees?
Unlike many other consultants, I do not charge by the hour so you
do not have to make an investment decision every time I am
engaged. My fees are value-based and are dependent on the
objectives you are trying to reach. This means that if I can solve the
problem in 1 day, I will not draw out our work in order to bill you
more hours. I believe it is in our best interest to work to solve the
problem as quickly and effectively as possible. This also means you
aren't making an investment decision every time I engage with you
and your organization. I will provide your custom-tailored fee
structure in the proposal after a complimentary clarity call which
you can book below.
Why can’t I do this myself?
You can also fix the pipes in your house yourself when the
basement is flooded, but it is often more effective to get someone
external to help you. An outsider like me gives an unbiased
objective view on your company. This is in line with Principle 1,
where you approach your challenges with a blank slate.
Why work specifically with you?
Other consulting firms have layers of people around them. I am a
solo-consultant with skin in the game with my clients and my
business. Unlike larger companies, my reputation is on the line
with my work. This means you can expect great responsiviness,
and results-orientation than others who bill by the hour cannot
provide. Plus my experience, thought leadership as a solo-
consultant, and education makes me equally qualified.
Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 15
Shouldn’t I hire an expert?
Sometimes you do. We can determine that in the Clarity call. I do
not take on clients whose needs I cannot meet anyways. It isn't
good business for me to do that. In other cases, an expert has a
narrow view of the world and uses their own heuristics to jump to
an answer. This can be useful, but a structured way of thinking and
applying the principles above can yield out of the box solutions
that experts with deep industry knowledge often miss altogether.
How can you be sure these Principles will work for me?
These Principles are not derived from fad-of-the-month business
bestseller books. These are tried and true principles gleamed out
from a century from real business executives across every industry
and country on the planet. I've worked alongside thought leaders
and executives, and the most effective problem solvers all share
these same principles of thinking. They absolutely do work.
My business is not in your geography, can we still work?
Yes. I travel and work remotely as appropriate for the work at
hand. Currently, I serve clients in North America and Europe.
Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 16
Testimonials
“I rank Dhawal as one of the best advisors I have ever had. He has an art for
finding and acquiring new pockets of customers in a way that produces
tangible results. Dhawal is not only intelligent and strategic he has an
extremely high degree of emotional intelligence. He undertakes challenges
with a calmness and prudence that differentiates him from other advisors I
have used. In addition to his strategic and tactical skills, he is quite gifted as
seeing where leadership approaches may be interfering with the desired
outcomes.”
Sharon King, CEO, Starfield
“Dhawal is a true professional who approaches his work with enthusiasm
and integrity. As a startup, we appreciated his flexibility and ability to do it
all – from fresh big-picture ideas and strategy, to brass-tacks project
management!”
Joe Mahavuthivanij, CEO, Mythic Markets
“If you need a smart, driven and easy to work with MBA who can help grow
your business, look no further. His work was so impressive that I had to
offer him options in my business to make sure he’s with me for the long
haul! His ideas work practically for startups, as well as small and medium
sized companies. I highly recommend working with him to grow your
business.”
Lelian Girard, CEO, TUIO Payments
“He is one of the most diligent, patient and honest men I have met. It is my
sincere pleasure to recommend him to anybody out there looking for
RESULTS. I firmly believe that past experience is a strong reflection of what
an individual has to offer, and my experience with Dhawal has convinced me
that he is an invaluable team player, a dynamic and creative individual. I
really look forward to working with you again. Keep up all your good work.”
Aditya Gullia, CEO, Grace & Stella
Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 17
About the Author
My name is Dhawal Tank (pronounced The-vuhl Tank). I believe
that businesses and organizations are the real engine of prosperity, dignity,
and innovation in society.
I've worked inside of and consulted with dozens of organizations to see
where they succeed and what makes them come up short. My consulting
practice is based on sound principles gleamed through working alongside or
learning from the world's top leaders, executives, and thinkers.
As a result, I am one of the 100 Global Leaders of Tomorrow as per the St.
Gallen Symposium in Switzerland.
I have an MBA from York University (Top 10 in the World as per Forbes, see
here) and a Bachelors from the Ivey Business School (Top ranked undergrad
program in Canada, see here).
I write about Leadership, Technology, and Healthcare with a spattering of
personal development and environmental issues. My work was emailed
more than 20,000 times and read by close to 1 million people on
Quora.com. I’ve also been featured on Huffington Post, and Big Design Lab.
I’ve spoken all across North America in front of audiences ranging from 10
to 3,500 in Toronto, Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, Detroit, Calgary, and
Chicago.
I consult and work with a variety of non-profits as well. Along with my work
for BAPS Charities, I work with NY Times Best Selling author Dr. Michael
Greger’s organization NutritionFacts.org, and I advise startups in the IoT,
med-tech, food, education, and logistics space.
I currently live in California, and serve clients across the world. Get in touch
with me here for your needs.
Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 18
Clarity Weekly:
A Newsletter for Organizational Leaders
Your most important work is to
Think
Decide
Inspire
Execute.
Subscribe to get the best insights that cuts
through the clutter to help you do just that.
The newsletter offers evergreen insights from
highly effective organizations and leaders
based on my study and strategy work
with businesses.
Sign up today for free at https://www.dtank.co

Recommended

Octogram Report by
Octogram ReportOctogram Report
Octogram Reportkumarr84
637 views6 slides
A sense of urgency by
A sense of urgencyA sense of urgency
A sense of urgencyChidirala Anil Shankar
417 views35 slides
Empxtrack_ultimate_guide_to_performance-management by
Empxtrack_ultimate_guide_to_performance-managementEmpxtrack_ultimate_guide_to_performance-management
Empxtrack_ultimate_guide_to_performance-managementAishwarya Vardhan Chaturvedi
151 views37 slides
Creative problem solving by
Creative problem solvingCreative problem solving
Creative problem solvingPresident Career Development Academy
120 views48 slides
carls sales training book by
carls sales training bookcarls sales training book
carls sales training bookcarl rogers
433 views39 slides
The Dilemmas of Family Wealth by
The Dilemmas of Family WealthThe Dilemmas of Family Wealth
The Dilemmas of Family WealthGMR Group
247 views53 slides

More Related Content

What's hot

30 things: Part 7/7: PEOPLE : 30 things I learned from my startup experience by
30 things: Part 7/7: PEOPLE : 30 things I learned from my startup experience30 things: Part 7/7: PEOPLE : 30 things I learned from my startup experience
30 things: Part 7/7: PEOPLE : 30 things I learned from my startup experienceSuhas Dutta
574 views25 slides
9 things they don't teach you in business school by
9 things they don't teach you in business school9 things they don't teach you in business school
9 things they don't teach you in business schoolCraig Morantz
284 views12 slides
1231-ilead-The-Hidden-Dimension-of-Business-Success copy by
1231-ilead-The-Hidden-Dimension-of-Business-Success copy1231-ilead-The-Hidden-Dimension-of-Business-Success copy
1231-ilead-The-Hidden-Dimension-of-Business-Success copyDave Bowler
123 views13 slides
Project Management Practitioner: Problem Solving and Decision Making by
Project Management Practitioner: Problem Solving and Decision MakingProject Management Practitioner: Problem Solving and Decision Making
Project Management Practitioner: Problem Solving and Decision Makinglearnonline4
301 views4 slides
Cio black booksecrets by
Cio black booksecretsCio black booksecrets
Cio black booksecretsJane Truch
275 views26 slides
Social Media Measurement with Beth Kanter by
Social Media Measurement with Beth KanterSocial Media Measurement with Beth Kanter
Social Media Measurement with Beth KanterHubSpot
2.6K views47 slides

What's hot(20)

30 things: Part 7/7: PEOPLE : 30 things I learned from my startup experience by Suhas Dutta
30 things: Part 7/7: PEOPLE : 30 things I learned from my startup experience30 things: Part 7/7: PEOPLE : 30 things I learned from my startup experience
30 things: Part 7/7: PEOPLE : 30 things I learned from my startup experience
Suhas Dutta574 views
9 things they don't teach you in business school by Craig Morantz
9 things they don't teach you in business school9 things they don't teach you in business school
9 things they don't teach you in business school
Craig Morantz284 views
1231-ilead-The-Hidden-Dimension-of-Business-Success copy by Dave Bowler
1231-ilead-The-Hidden-Dimension-of-Business-Success copy1231-ilead-The-Hidden-Dimension-of-Business-Success copy
1231-ilead-The-Hidden-Dimension-of-Business-Success copy
Dave Bowler123 views
Project Management Practitioner: Problem Solving and Decision Making by learnonline4
Project Management Practitioner: Problem Solving and Decision MakingProject Management Practitioner: Problem Solving and Decision Making
Project Management Practitioner: Problem Solving and Decision Making
learnonline4301 views
Cio black booksecrets by Jane Truch
Cio black booksecretsCio black booksecrets
Cio black booksecrets
Jane Truch275 views
Social Media Measurement with Beth Kanter by HubSpot
Social Media Measurement with Beth KanterSocial Media Measurement with Beth Kanter
Social Media Measurement with Beth Kanter
HubSpot2.6K views
ForOrInBusiness by Jim Baker
ForOrInBusinessForOrInBusiness
ForOrInBusiness
Jim Baker122 views
Leadership 3 C Model by kmwallin
Leadership 3 C ModelLeadership 3 C Model
Leadership 3 C Model
kmwallin1.6K views
The-Small Book-of-The-Few-Big-Rules-OutSystems by Steve Rotter
The-Small Book-of-The-Few-Big-Rules-OutSystemsThe-Small Book-of-The-Few-Big-Rules-OutSystems
The-Small Book-of-The-Few-Big-Rules-OutSystems
Steve Rotter1.2K views
5 Cycles Remote Innovation - Systems by Bryan Cassady
5 Cycles Remote Innovation -  Systems5 Cycles Remote Innovation -  Systems
5 Cycles Remote Innovation - Systems
Bryan Cassady223 views
2 Cycles Remote Innovation - Alignment by Bryan Cassady
2  Cycles Remote Innovation -  Alignment2  Cycles Remote Innovation -  Alignment
2 Cycles Remote Innovation - Alignment
Bryan Cassady215 views
Succeeding in Succession by francoisviens
Succeeding in SuccessionSucceeding in Succession
Succeeding in Succession
francoisviens431 views
Making More Money (Workbook): Simple Strategies for Improving Cash Flow and P... by jrd9234
Making More Money (Workbook): Simple Strategies for Improving Cash Flow and P...Making More Money (Workbook): Simple Strategies for Improving Cash Flow and P...
Making More Money (Workbook): Simple Strategies for Improving Cash Flow and P...
jrd9234269 views
The successful new manager by ucontinental
The successful new managerThe successful new manager
The successful new manager
ucontinental1.1K views
Why sales training fails and your options by peak performance training and de... by Georgia Scanlon
Why sales training fails and your options by peak performance training and de...Why sales training fails and your options by peak performance training and de...
Why sales training fails and your options by peak performance training and de...
Georgia Scanlon3.3K views
Putting Value Back in Evaluations - Mary Bushing by tlcook1029
Putting Value Back in Evaluations - Mary BushingPutting Value Back in Evaluations - Mary Bushing
Putting Value Back in Evaluations - Mary Bushing
tlcook1029283 views
Article Career Conversations BK & JWG by Nathalie Ogier
Article Career Conversations BK & JWGArticle Career Conversations BK & JWG
Article Career Conversations BK & JWG
Nathalie Ogier203 views
Lean Canvas: How To Create a Business Plan that People Will Actually Read by QuekelsBaro
Lean Canvas: How To Create a Business Plan that People Will Actually Read Lean Canvas: How To Create a Business Plan that People Will Actually Read
Lean Canvas: How To Create a Business Plan that People Will Actually Read
QuekelsBaro35 views

Similar to Principles of Breakthrough: A Practical Guide for Leaders

7 Concepts That Will Grow Your Business.pdf by
7 Concepts That Will Grow Your Business.pdf7 Concepts That Will Grow Your Business.pdf
7 Concepts That Will Grow Your Business.pdfPeter John
64 views4 slides
How To Fail: 25 Secrets Learned through Failure by
How To Fail: 25 Secrets Learned through FailureHow To Fail: 25 Secrets Learned through Failure
How To Fail: 25 Secrets Learned through FailureTaylor Davidson
5.4K views28 slides
Management Tips by
Management TipsManagement Tips
Management Tipsniict
374 views9 slides
Wk3 team project by
Wk3 team projectWk3 team project
Wk3 team projectRandall Oliver
145 views10 slides
Managing Screen Printers, Part 1: Accountability by
Managing Screen Printers, Part 1: AccountabilityManaging Screen Printers, Part 1: Accountability
Managing Screen Printers, Part 1: AccountabilityPrintavo
58 views18 slides
6 Mistakes Organizations Make When Trying to Implement Transformation by
6 Mistakes Organizations Make When Trying to Implement Transformation 6 Mistakes Organizations Make When Trying to Implement Transformation
6 Mistakes Organizations Make When Trying to Implement Transformation Keren Levy
43 views4 slides

Similar to Principles of Breakthrough: A Practical Guide for Leaders(20)

7 Concepts That Will Grow Your Business.pdf by Peter John
7 Concepts That Will Grow Your Business.pdf7 Concepts That Will Grow Your Business.pdf
7 Concepts That Will Grow Your Business.pdf
Peter John64 views
How To Fail: 25 Secrets Learned through Failure by Taylor Davidson
How To Fail: 25 Secrets Learned through FailureHow To Fail: 25 Secrets Learned through Failure
How To Fail: 25 Secrets Learned through Failure
Taylor Davidson5.4K views
Management Tips by niict
Management TipsManagement Tips
Management Tips
niict374 views
Managing Screen Printers, Part 1: Accountability by Printavo
Managing Screen Printers, Part 1: AccountabilityManaging Screen Printers, Part 1: Accountability
Managing Screen Printers, Part 1: Accountability
Printavo58 views
6 Mistakes Organizations Make When Trying to Implement Transformation by Keren Levy
6 Mistakes Organizations Make When Trying to Implement Transformation 6 Mistakes Organizations Make When Trying to Implement Transformation
6 Mistakes Organizations Make When Trying to Implement Transformation
Keren Levy43 views
Ambit Energy Review: Why People Have Difficulty in Ambit Energy by mywmitoday
Ambit Energy Review: Why People Have Difficulty in Ambit EnergyAmbit Energy Review: Why People Have Difficulty in Ambit Energy
Ambit Energy Review: Why People Have Difficulty in Ambit Energy
mywmitoday496 views
7 Things Law Firms Should Be Doing by Mike Barnes
7 Things Law Firms Should Be Doing7 Things Law Firms Should Be Doing
7 Things Law Firms Should Be Doing
Mike Barnes177 views
Where does a business coach look to improve your business? by Andrew Priestley
Where does a business coach look to improve your business?Where does a business coach look to improve your business?
Where does a business coach look to improve your business?
Andrew Priestley721 views
Disrupt yourself by GMR Group
Disrupt yourselfDisrupt yourself
Disrupt yourself
GMR Group266 views
Is Small Business for MeAssignment 1 is intended to assess you .docx by bagotjesusa
Is Small Business for MeAssignment 1 is intended to assess you .docxIs Small Business for MeAssignment 1 is intended to assess you .docx
Is Small Business for MeAssignment 1 is intended to assess you .docx
bagotjesusa2 views
So you think you have a business idea? by BuddingCEOs
So you think you have a business idea?So you think you have a business idea?
So you think you have a business idea?
BuddingCEOs2.1K views
Teacher’s feedback hi john you earned a grade of f on this pape by rock73
Teacher’s feedback hi john   you earned a grade of f on this papeTeacher’s feedback hi john   you earned a grade of f on this pape
Teacher’s feedback hi john you earned a grade of f on this pape
rock7386 views
Questions white paper by Chaz Horn
Questions white paperQuestions white paper
Questions white paper
Chaz Horn229 views
Building the business brain by AhmadALZarari
Building the business brainBuilding the business brain
Building the business brain
AhmadALZarari62 views

Recently uploaded

Intuitively Moving Institutions Towards Global Regulatory Resilience by
Intuitively Moving Institutions Towards Global Regulatory Resilience Intuitively Moving Institutions Towards Global Regulatory Resilience
Intuitively Moving Institutions Towards Global Regulatory Resilience Ajaz Hussain
142 views79 slides
A 21st century leader.pdf by
A 21st century leader.pdfA 21st century leader.pdf
A 21st century leader.pdfZakayoThaimuta
5 views25 slides
A Tragic Resistance to Learn.pdf by
A Tragic Resistance to Learn.pdfA Tragic Resistance to Learn.pdf
A Tragic Resistance to Learn.pdfObaid Ali / Roohi B. Obaid
19 views3 slides
EC Oral presentation .pdf by
EC Oral presentation .pdfEC Oral presentation .pdf
EC Oral presentation .pdfmeeraalyafei2
10 views10 slides
SpatzAI - Powering Bold Idea-sharing in Teams Spat by Spat by
SpatzAI - Powering Bold Idea-sharing in Teams Spat by SpatSpatzAI - Powering Bold Idea-sharing in Teams Spat by Spat
SpatzAI - Powering Bold Idea-sharing in Teams Spat by SpatDesmond Sherlock
9 views11 slides
Creating Unity Through Systems Thinking - Southern Cross Case Study.pptx by
Creating Unity Through Systems Thinking - Southern Cross Case Study.pptxCreating Unity Through Systems Thinking - Southern Cross Case Study.pptx
Creating Unity Through Systems Thinking - Southern Cross Case Study.pptxy9v9xbdk72
16 views26 slides

Recently uploaded(11)

Intuitively Moving Institutions Towards Global Regulatory Resilience by Ajaz Hussain
Intuitively Moving Institutions Towards Global Regulatory Resilience Intuitively Moving Institutions Towards Global Regulatory Resilience
Intuitively Moving Institutions Towards Global Regulatory Resilience
Ajaz Hussain142 views
SpatzAI - Powering Bold Idea-sharing in Teams Spat by Spat by Desmond Sherlock
SpatzAI - Powering Bold Idea-sharing in Teams Spat by SpatSpatzAI - Powering Bold Idea-sharing in Teams Spat by Spat
SpatzAI - Powering Bold Idea-sharing in Teams Spat by Spat
Creating Unity Through Systems Thinking - Southern Cross Case Study.pptx by y9v9xbdk72
Creating Unity Through Systems Thinking - Southern Cross Case Study.pptxCreating Unity Through Systems Thinking - Southern Cross Case Study.pptx
Creating Unity Through Systems Thinking - Southern Cross Case Study.pptx
y9v9xbdk7216 views
Narcissism vs Leadership (1).pdf by kullmd
Narcissism vs Leadership (1).pdfNarcissism vs Leadership (1).pdf
Narcissism vs Leadership (1).pdf
kullmd13 views
A manifesto for better organisations by Andrew Ormerod
A manifesto for better organisationsA manifesto for better organisations
A manifesto for better organisations
Andrew Ormerod28 views
Correspondence to Claire C.pdf by 1978pjkmgfgh
Correspondence to Claire C.pdfCorrespondence to Claire C.pdf
Correspondence to Claire C.pdf
1978pjkmgfgh11 views

Principles of Breakthrough: A Practical Guide for Leaders

  • 1. The Principles of Organizational Breakthroughs: A Practical Guide for Leaders Dhawal Tank
  • 2. dtank.co January 3, 2020 California, USA Print, share, copy, this guide with your employees and colleagues as you see fit. This work by Dhawal Tank is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, PO Box 1866, Mountain View, CA 94042, USA. Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 2
  • 3. Dear Organizational Leader, To get the most out of these Principles, I recommended that you print it out and keep it close to your desk. Having it at hand means you will be able to quickly refer to it as you face unique challenges in your business, non-profit, agency, or any other type of organization you lead. These Principles are distilled down based on the best practices of the most effective executives, consultants, and leaders in the world. They are just as applicable to marketing, sales, operations, as they do to human problems. You will find the definitions here will guide your thinking No matter how complex, immediate, or aggravating the challenge, this proven set of Principles can be applied to solve it. They are tested in the real world not just by me but by the hundreds of professionals who have created massive breakthroughs in their organizations through it. Don’t let their simplicity fool you. If they seem like common sense, ask yourself: have I applied this? You will first go over the Principles in brief, and then you will see a few examples on how you can apply them immediately. To your breakthroughs, Dhawal Tank Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 3
  • 4. The Principles 1.Start with a blank slate: Don't assume you know everything about the situation. Approach it as an outsider. 2.Stop blaming: Believing that something is broken because customers, employees, vendors, or market conditions are the way they are is harmful. It also prevents you from seeing a breakthrough solution. People act in their own self interest. 3.Articulate the Situation and the Outcome: It is not enough to say that you have "a problem" with sales. What specifically? And what specifically does a positive outcome look like? 4.Look for Inherent Simplicity: The roots of any challenge will undoubtedly be tied in 1-2 causes. Fix these root causes and you will breakthrough your business challenges. 5.Don't Focus on the Unimportant: Don't solve the unimportant things. This is very tempting, but also useless. 6.Find the Unquestioned Assumption: At the heart of the root cause of most business challenges is an assumption that has gone unchallenged. What is yours? 7.Map Out the New Territory: Avoid that temptation of acting right away. Instead, map out what the business looks like once the new idea or assumption is involved. You will find many ripple effects (positive and unexpected) that you can plan for ahead of time. 8.Execute: Sell yourself the idea first, and then focus on selling the idea to other stakeholders in terms that appeal to their self-interest. Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 4
  • 5. Start With A Blank Slate Idea You got to be a leader by working hard and developing a level of expertise about your field. This can be an asset, but it can also prevent you from seeing your blind spots. It also prevents fresh thinking to emerge. I have repeatedly seen an executive who cannot see their blind spots and are stuck in stale thinking. As a consultant, my primary work is often to introduce fresh thinking to that executive and the organization. Sometimes it can be from the same industry, or a different industry altogether. Sometimes it’s a blind spot which the executive is adamantly ignoring (but which everyone else can see from a mile away). Application Look at your work, your company, or your team from the perspective of an outsider. If you cannot make yourself do that, speak with a friend or colleague in another industry and get their opinion. Don’t use this as a medium of venting to others about how challenging or bad things are. Be open to feedback and think fresh. Being stuck in your head with the problem at hand can be paralyzing. A personal inventory to understand your blindspots can also be helpful. Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 5
  • 6. Stop Blaming Idea Your employees, suppliers, customers, and other market conditions are indifferent to your needs. While goodwill, trust, and respect go a long way, understand that people act in their own self-interest in the medium-term and long-term. It is sometimes hard to decipher what their self-interest is, and at times, it seems downright self-destructive (especially when it comes to employees). Your job must be to understand what is in the self-interest of each of the stakeholders you interact with. Realize that your self-interest lies in catering to others’ self- interests. This alone can cause a stuck situation to finally unlock. Application Make a list of all the stakeholders that are involved in the current situation you are tackling. Customers, employees, vendors, everyone. Next, try to understand exactly what is most important to them. It is not always money. Third, develop a list of all the assets (hard and soft) that you can offer them in return for what you want. Finally, discuss with them about their interests. Offer what you can, but also see how close to the mark you were. Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 6
  • 7. Articulate the Situation and Outcome Idea Do you have a clear idea of the exact problem you are trying to solve/fix/manage? Clearly articulating the exact problem in directly observable language (DOL) will do more to help you find a solution than wildly throwing a bunch of ideas and hoping they stick. E.g. It isn’t enough to say that you have a “problem with sales.” What does this mean? Do you have a problem in keeping salespeople, or is it the revenue generated per employee? Are major customers leaving you or are you not able to find new customers? Therefore, you must clearly articulate the problem. And as best as you can, articulate the outcome you would like if this problem was solved properly. Application Write out (seriously), don’t just think abstractly exactly what you see the problem/situation is in the most concrete terms possible. E.g. Don’t just say “there is a problem with communication.” Write out “there is no response to the emails asking for direct input.” Next, think of answers exactly for the problem as you have described in the most concrete terms possible. Fixing a “communication problem” is hard. But fixing a problem to get people to reply back to their emails is a directly observable. Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 7
  • 8. Look for Inherent Simplicity Idea You have to be convinced that there is simplicity at the root of any situation you are facing. Complexity is a more appealing demon to battle. The mind tends to complicate things more than it needs to be. Resist that urge. Pareto’s 80/20 rule applies. 80% of the things you see happen in your organization, team, department, and in the marketplace can be traced to 20% of causes. And in this world, the ratio is more like 95/5, or even 99/1. Find the minority of causes that moves the rest of the tree and you will be significantly closer to solving the issue at hand and creating a real breakthrough. Application As you write out the problem/situation and start thinking through the solution/answer, you will see many branches start to form. Your task is to trace these branches down to their very roots. In almost every situation, the root causes can be traced down to just 1-2 causes. A simple way to understand if you have arrived at a root cause is to ask yourself: does this cause affect other things in my team/organization/marketplace? Root causes should be playing a disproportionate role and causing multiple waves in the situation at hand. The resulting clarity will be free you to see a breakthrough. Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 8
  • 9. Don’t Focus on the Unimportant Idea This is a corollary to the idea before. It will be tempting to go down the wrong paths and work on a bunch of unimportant things. You will be tempted to work on the effects themselves as opposed to causes. As a leader, your job is to work on the important problems or opportunities at hand. The mind’s tendency is to focus on immediate short term snap judgements. Resist the urge. By systematic in your thinking and follow your analysis down to their very roots. Application How do you know if you’re working on the unimportant things? First, ask yourself: is this a cause or effect of the situation at hand? Ask yourself: if I change/fix this, will this cause a substantial change in the situation? In other words, will it fix the problem? If the answer is no, or “just slightly” that’s when you know you are working on the wrong problems. Another question you can ask yourself is: “Does this thing I am solving explain any other problems/situations?” A minor problem will likely be isolated. A root cause will explain many other things happening in the organization. Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 9
  • 10. Find the Unquestioned Assumption Idea This is another corollary to the idea of looking for inherent simplicity. At its heart, there is usually an assumption that has gone unchallenged. A few decades back, it might have been “we cannot sell over the Internet.” Today, it might be: “millennial employees are too ___.” Or, the best of all, “this is just how we do things around here.” Ignoring this is dangerous. It is the reason why the big and mighty companies often miss something big. It is the reason why 4/10 companies on the Fortune 500 review are gone from that list within 10 years. Application Look at the unquestioned assumptions behind your employee practices, your supplier and vendor relationships, or how you treat your customers. If an outsider comes and says “why do you do it this way?” and your only answer is, “that’s just how we do it” or “company policy”, maybe it’s time to question this assumption. Breakthroughs happen when you challenge these unspoken assumptions. Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 10
  • 11. Map Out the New Territory Idea The insights above will help you cut through the clarity and get clear about the problem as well as the most effective solutions. But before you decide the best of these options, think through the downstream implications of that decision. Since your solution tackles the root causes of your team, organization, business or industry itself, you can definitely be assured that whatever you implement will ripple throughout the organization. Application For each solution you and/or your team have devised, study the downstream impact on your finances, your cultural dynamic, your relationships with your customers, vendors, and suppliers, and finally in relation to the marketplace itself. Your previous thinking about stakeholders’ self interest will help you anticipate the impact. Your goal now is to mitigate unwanted consequences and commit to the solution that maximizes the benefits will minimizing the costs. Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 11
  • 12. Execute Idea You must sell yourself first. You and your leadership team must commit to a solution and a course of action before you can execute with the aid of your suppliers, vendors, employees, and ultimately your customers to change your position in the marketplace. Execution always start with selling. Do not hesitate to walk people through your thought process and paint a vision for them about what the solution looks like. Involve their self interest most of all. Help them see why it is in their best interest to move along in executing on the desired solution. Application Identify the people who need to be involved in this strategic change. Identify the gaps that need to be filled. Identify a course of action your existing stakeholders need to take, which ones need to be let go and which ones need to be added in order to complete the path to the destination. Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 12
  • 13. Implement the Principles in Your Organization While the Principles above are simple, as you start applying them you will realize that they can be uncommonly hard to implement. Sometimes, you need an external voice to dig into your organization, see the unseen parts of your business, and question the assumptions that need to be challenged. This is my work. I provide strategic consulting work to organizational leaders across the US, Canada, and Europe. This includes leading workshops and speaking in any stage of thinking, deciding, inspiring/moving people, and executing on a strategic change. This is how the process typically works: Step 1 Fill out the Contact Form – Describe the issue you are dealing with and what your attempts at solving them so far have included. You can be as brief or as detailed as you want. This call is 100% confidential and can come with a NDA if required and requested. Step 2 Go through Clarity Call - Lasting between 30-75 minutes, we will go through the call and understand the outcomes you are aiming Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 13
  • 14. for, apply the principles above, and figure out areas of greater exploration. My goal here is to start creating clarity for you. Step 3 If appropriate, receive a plan of action - We will determine in the call itself if we have the ability to work together. If we do, expect to receive a simple proposal within 24 hours on how you can create the outcome you want. Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 14
  • 15. Frequently Asked Questions What are your fees? Unlike many other consultants, I do not charge by the hour so you do not have to make an investment decision every time I am engaged. My fees are value-based and are dependent on the objectives you are trying to reach. This means that if I can solve the problem in 1 day, I will not draw out our work in order to bill you more hours. I believe it is in our best interest to work to solve the problem as quickly and effectively as possible. This also means you aren't making an investment decision every time I engage with you and your organization. I will provide your custom-tailored fee structure in the proposal after a complimentary clarity call which you can book below. Why can’t I do this myself? You can also fix the pipes in your house yourself when the basement is flooded, but it is often more effective to get someone external to help you. An outsider like me gives an unbiased objective view on your company. This is in line with Principle 1, where you approach your challenges with a blank slate. Why work specifically with you? Other consulting firms have layers of people around them. I am a solo-consultant with skin in the game with my clients and my business. Unlike larger companies, my reputation is on the line with my work. This means you can expect great responsiviness, and results-orientation than others who bill by the hour cannot provide. Plus my experience, thought leadership as a solo- consultant, and education makes me equally qualified. Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 15
  • 16. Shouldn’t I hire an expert? Sometimes you do. We can determine that in the Clarity call. I do not take on clients whose needs I cannot meet anyways. It isn't good business for me to do that. In other cases, an expert has a narrow view of the world and uses their own heuristics to jump to an answer. This can be useful, but a structured way of thinking and applying the principles above can yield out of the box solutions that experts with deep industry knowledge often miss altogether. How can you be sure these Principles will work for me? These Principles are not derived from fad-of-the-month business bestseller books. These are tried and true principles gleamed out from a century from real business executives across every industry and country on the planet. I've worked alongside thought leaders and executives, and the most effective problem solvers all share these same principles of thinking. They absolutely do work. My business is not in your geography, can we still work? Yes. I travel and work remotely as appropriate for the work at hand. Currently, I serve clients in North America and Europe. Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 16
  • 17. Testimonials “I rank Dhawal as one of the best advisors I have ever had. He has an art for finding and acquiring new pockets of customers in a way that produces tangible results. Dhawal is not only intelligent and strategic he has an extremely high degree of emotional intelligence. He undertakes challenges with a calmness and prudence that differentiates him from other advisors I have used. In addition to his strategic and tactical skills, he is quite gifted as seeing where leadership approaches may be interfering with the desired outcomes.” Sharon King, CEO, Starfield “Dhawal is a true professional who approaches his work with enthusiasm and integrity. As a startup, we appreciated his flexibility and ability to do it all – from fresh big-picture ideas and strategy, to brass-tacks project management!” Joe Mahavuthivanij, CEO, Mythic Markets “If you need a smart, driven and easy to work with MBA who can help grow your business, look no further. His work was so impressive that I had to offer him options in my business to make sure he’s with me for the long haul! His ideas work practically for startups, as well as small and medium sized companies. I highly recommend working with him to grow your business.” Lelian Girard, CEO, TUIO Payments “He is one of the most diligent, patient and honest men I have met. It is my sincere pleasure to recommend him to anybody out there looking for RESULTS. I firmly believe that past experience is a strong reflection of what an individual has to offer, and my experience with Dhawal has convinced me that he is an invaluable team player, a dynamic and creative individual. I really look forward to working with you again. Keep up all your good work.” Aditya Gullia, CEO, Grace & Stella Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 17
  • 18. About the Author My name is Dhawal Tank (pronounced The-vuhl Tank). I believe that businesses and organizations are the real engine of prosperity, dignity, and innovation in society. I've worked inside of and consulted with dozens of organizations to see where they succeed and what makes them come up short. My consulting practice is based on sound principles gleamed through working alongside or learning from the world's top leaders, executives, and thinkers. As a result, I am one of the 100 Global Leaders of Tomorrow as per the St. Gallen Symposium in Switzerland. I have an MBA from York University (Top 10 in the World as per Forbes, see here) and a Bachelors from the Ivey Business School (Top ranked undergrad program in Canada, see here). I write about Leadership, Technology, and Healthcare with a spattering of personal development and environmental issues. My work was emailed more than 20,000 times and read by close to 1 million people on Quora.com. I’ve also been featured on Huffington Post, and Big Design Lab. I’ve spoken all across North America in front of audiences ranging from 10 to 3,500 in Toronto, Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, Detroit, Calgary, and Chicago. I consult and work with a variety of non-profits as well. Along with my work for BAPS Charities, I work with NY Times Best Selling author Dr. Michael Greger’s organization NutritionFacts.org, and I advise startups in the IoT, med-tech, food, education, and logistics space. I currently live in California, and serve clients across the world. Get in touch with me here for your needs. Dhawal Tank – dtank.co 18
  • 19. Clarity Weekly: A Newsletter for Organizational Leaders Your most important work is to Think Decide Inspire Execute. Subscribe to get the best insights that cuts through the clutter to help you do just that. The newsletter offers evergreen insights from highly effective organizations and leaders based on my study and strategy work with businesses. Sign up today for free at https://www.dtank.co