May 25, 2023

By Mark David

Zero Based Thinking (ZBT) is a fantastic leadership technique to support the company, organization, team, or individual success. What is ZBT? The leader looks back historically at a point in time that you went from zero, (you have nothing), to one, (you have something). Here is a very simple and effective way to use it. Let’s say you hire an individual 4 months ago. You look back 4 months and one day ago. You baseline how your team is doing. Now you’re at zero. Going forward, you hired person X to deliver specific behaviors to bring forward specific results.

As you look back at zero, and going forward, you ask yourself these questions:

  1. Did hiring this person solve my problem?
  2. Is this person behaving the way we discussed they would?
  3. Are there things I missed during the interview process?
  4. Looking back, knowing what I know today, would I have hired this person?
  5. If yes, keep the ball rolling! 
  6. If no, what specific changes will you have to immediately implement?
  7. Knowing what I know now, what additional questions, steps, people, etc., should I add to this process?

The key is recognizing where everything you are working on is and making the correct Proactive Strategic Adjustments (PSA) using ZBT.

Zero Based Thinking is a reflective process to unitize as a lens for many things:

  1. Hires
  2. Projects you’re working on
  3. Campaigns you’re running.
  4. Cultural transformational practices
  5. Investments in educational curriculum 
  6. New teams or organizations that have been launched. 
  7. All sales that were made by your company 

In conclusion, you literally can use ZBT to support anyone or anything. You just have to build the habit of being a reflective leader. Be open to discovering the truth versus living with an illusion as quickly as possible. The essence is you have to ask yourself, “If I go back to point zero, and now fast-forward to today, would I have done everything the same?” If yes, nothing is done. If no, I would have acted differently. See how you can proactively make those changes today. Don’t wait around now. Make a list of the most important things you’re working on and overlay ZBT on it. I know you will find it a very useful leadership tool. It will save you time and money the minute you use it. Let me know how it worked for you, and we can share your story with others. 

Appreciate the Day,

Mark David

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