“Truth – more precisely, an accurate understanding of reality—is the essential foundation for producing good outcomes.”
Ray Dalio, Founder, Bridgewater Associates
If you can’t button your jeans, you’ve gained weight. If you’re supposed to be traveling east but the late afternoon sun is blinding you, you need to turn around. You don’t need a bathroom scale to know that you’re fat or a map to figure out basic directions.
But, if you want to know how much weight you need to lose and how well your diet plan is working, you regularly weigh and measure yourself to monitor your progress. And, if you want to know your current location and the best way to reach your desired destination, you frequently consult a map or GPS device.
It’s much harder to know if your company is overweight with costs or misguided about its strategy. But an accurate and frequent assessment of a company’s progress toward reaching target goals is essential to its successful growth.
My MVP System provides the “accurate understanding of reality” that has helped Dalio build Bridgewater into the largest fund in the country.
The first step in the MVP process – Map – truthfully assesses the reality of the environment a company operates in and creates clarity about what this means to a company’s leaders.
Mapping is essential to successful growth for at least five reasons:
1. Mapping uncovers core issues that prevent a company from fulfilling its potential. The perceived issues may be an effect while ignoring the core issues that could contribute to optimal growth.
2. Mapping creates a common understanding among stakeholders about a company’s position in its environment.
3. Mapping measures the many variables – both internal and external – that shape a company’s environment. And it measures the effects of decisions over time. The impact of many decisions is not immediately felt, and by the time the full impact materializes it may be too late.
4. Mapping strengthens and sharpens intuition because it augments “gut feelings” with facts. A business environment is too complex to be assessed only by intuition.
5. Mapping improves risk management. Nothing hurts a company’s growth more than losses. Successful growth relies on avoiding setbacks, and mapping identifies and mitigates potential trouble areas.
Some people avoid their bathroom scale because they don’t want to face the consequences of their diet and lifestyle. Some people don’t ask for directions because they’d rather be lost than embarrassed. Some companies avoid mapping because it can be an uncomfortable process.
Successful dieters and successful travelers use the tools that will help them reach their goals. Successful companies regularly map and measure their strengths and weaknesses because they know that the process is critical to achieving their high-growth goals.
To fix a problem, you have to find it. If you want the your company to have exceptional growth, mapping and identifying core issues is the first step.