Monday, June 1, 2015

Charlie Munger's Problem-Solving Tip: Invert The Question

You know Warren Buffett, but do you know his right-hand man, Charlie Munger?

You should.

The vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway is so respected by investors and business leaders that they get on planes and fly to see him speak on those rare occasions when he does.

In a now-legendary commencement address to the University of Southern California Law School, Munger dropped a lifetime's worth of wisdom into the laps of graduates. (One of them took notes, here.)

Here's one nugget from that speech for today, to help you solve problems in your business faster. It's Munger's idea of inversion. Quoting him:

"... problems frequently get easier, I'd even say usually are easier to solve if you turn them around in reverse. In other words, if you want to help India, the question you should ask is not 'how can I help India', it's 'what is doing the worst damage in India? What will automatically do the worst damage and how do I avoid it?' 
"Let me use a little inversion now. What will really fail in life? What do you want to avoid?"

That's it. Pithy, but POWERFUL. Let's try it now.

Here's a question you've probably asked yourself dozens of times: What's the best thing I could do to grow my business? It's a good question. Answered correctly, it will yield good answers. But familiarity breeds contempt, and if you've been asking yourself variations of that question for any length of time, you're probably too familiar with it and a little contemptuous of the answers.

So let's invert the question, as Charlie Munger might. Try this: What's doing the worst damage to my business? Answering that question will likely deliver new insights, which you are likely to fix because it's human nature to avoid pain faster than to seek growth (at least in my experience). By fixing the pain, you'll plug the leaks that are keeping your business poor right now, which makes you richer tomorrow.

That inverted question could lead you to such painful insights as these:
  • my website is horribly outdated and not converting traffic into leads
  • nobody has sent me a referral in months
  • my marketing is totally reactive and not proactive or strategic
You get the idea. The answers to Munger's inverted question are painful. Brutal, even. But all fixable.

And as they say in any good 12-step program, recognizing that you have a problem is the first and most important step toward fixing it.

So, ask yourself Charlie Munger's simple, brilliant question at least once a week: What's doing the worst damage to my business?

Now. If your business is doing at least $100,000 in revenue, my Free Client Cloning Kit can give you a slight edge -- and then some. It's NOT another download. This is a real business-building kit you can hold in your hands. Grab yours now, while you can.

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