A Quick Way to Help Your Cannabiz Team Face the Right Direction


Something you all might want to consider with your service, project, or business ventures is solidly determining a direction.  Have you started something before and felt like you were all over the place with it?  Or were so finely focused early on that it ended up working against you?  Think about it.  I know a few of you have.  I've done it.  Heck, years ago I got so fine focused on this produce cart project that I wasn't open to better ideas.  I was so dialed in to my course that I blew deadlines, fell out with my partnership, and we didn't go in the right direction.  Now, I do not jump right into the making until I've done a Challenge Statement with the team to determine the general direction to go in.   I've learned this from IDEO and they're some of the best.  They describe it as aiming a shotgun which will later be focused into a laser.  And it works.

That's why I'm going to share with you how to do it.  We're going to write a Challenge Statement.  It's actually more like a Challenge Question.  You can do this over a coffee.  You're going to write out what your challenge is.  It more or less begins "How might we..."  The "we" is important.  It looks at your challenge as a team would.  It allows you to assess it from more than just your own point of view. The How Might We statement it like a garden sprayer.  You don't gotta aim it too hard and you'll still water the plants.  You just have to face the right way.  It helps the whole team face the best direction together.  So let's get started:

  1. get some coffee, snacks , pens and paper. 
  2. Gather the key people involved in the project at various levels, together in one comfortable space.
  3. Pass out pens and paper and explain the exercise.
  4. You want to write out several versions of a really focused look at the challenge your team is facing.  Examples:
    1. How might we get our online store up and running and turning a profit as quickly as possible?" 
    2. HMW get our online store picked up by select markets and shared among their contacts to increase business?
    3. HMW help make online sales, increasing our income by 25% within a fiscal year?
  5. Now write out several version of a very general challenge statement. Examples:
    1. How might we get online business going?
    2. HMW make more profit?
    3. HMW make more profit through online sales?
  6. Good job.  Now write some statements that fall around the middle.  Examples:
    1. How might we rapidly implement a new profitable service?
    2. HMW boost sales and reduce stock using the web?
    3. HMW create a sustainable online mailorder service?
  7.  Pass them around for everyone to read.
  8. Vote for the statement that you feel best sums up the general direction that you all need to go.  Everyone marks 2 that they think work best.  Pick something that is not too focused and detailed while not being too broad.  You want the middle ground for this.  Remember, we're simply aiming the water and turning on the spray, not hosing it out.  We also want to catch a broad degree of plants with our spray.  So, not too wide and not too fine.
  9. Add up the votes and read out the winners.  In some cases, it may make sense to combine the winning statements or use wording from sentences that weren't chosen.  Example:
    1. How might we create a sustainable and profitable online mailorder service?
  10. Write or print it out and hang it up in your team's shared workspace to remind everyone.

Voila!  You're done.  You and your team have a little bit more cohesion and a better sense of direction for your joint venture.  Take a quick peek at this article to get a slightly better understanding of how to think about what your writing.