Is this the most important theory since E=MC2?
To answer that question, we first need to agree on what is important. To do that, we need clarity. That makes clarity important in itself.
But is there a theory about increasing clarity? A theory with the same simplicity and impact as e=mc2, but in our business and personal worlds? A theory with the potential of fundamentally changing our understanding of something?
After all, clarity is hard to come by. Our world is changing faster and faster, creating new and unprecedented challenges.
In my new book, FROM ORDINARY TO EXTRAORDINARY, I introduce a new theory for increasing clarity; back-to-the-dot theory. Back-to-the-dot theory states that everything starts as a ‘dot’, something singular, which then expands and takes greater form.
The most extreme example is the universe, which started as a singular particle, a ‘dot’, some 13.8 billion years ago, developing into what we have today.
In human consciousness, a ‘dot’ starts with a thought, intention or idea.
If we choose to act on a particular one, we give it life, and it grows. For example, the idea of starting a new business. From the original idea, to acquiring its first customer, employing its first employee, setting up its first regional office, etc.
The complication is that after extended growth, we lose sight of the original intention, or WHY we did it in the first place.
In our physical or analogue world, this is not particularly earth-shattering. But in the digital world, where everything moves at light speed , it is a critical insight.
And why is that?
Because our WHY doesn’t change, or at least not quickly. As we transition into the digital world, and its insane velocity, we need something that doesn’t move. Something stable we can hold on to, to remain sane and grounded.
Back-to-the-dot theory explains this critical relationship, and how to use the WHY question to re-discover the ‘dot’. It is based on 5 hypotheses:
- Change and disruption are best understood through the lens of complexity / simplicity, because only in the simple state can we see all our choices, and decide what is most important.
- Change and disruption increases with complexity, and decreases with simplicity. Clarity and simplicity are synonymous.
- WHAT and HOW questions build on what exists, and hence increase complexity. For example, HOW can we make X more effective?
- WHY questions challenge what we do, and increase simplicity. For example, WHY are we doing X? Is there a better choice all together?
- The ultimate ‘dot’, our ultimate WHY, is the uniqueness we each hold as individuals, which is our true unique differentiator, in life and business.
Confucius, the ancient Eastern philosopher, said: life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
What do you think? How do you approach the WHY question in business?
Jesper Lowgren is a published author, keynote speaker, member of board of advisors for Enterprise Transformation 2020, and a business & digital transformation thought-leader with Telstra Limited, Australia’s largest telecommunications provider. He consults to mid-tier corporate CEO’s on digital and enterprise change and transformation.
His book, ON PURPOSE — The Path to Extraordinary Business Transformation, can be found on Amazon.
His next book, FROM ORDINARY TO EXTRAORDINARY: How to Reimagine Yourself and Redefine what is Possible, will be released early 2016.
Jesper is Swedish, and apologises for any Swenglish creeping into his writing.