At the start of the pandemic, Airbnb’s business declined 80% in eight weeks. Brian Chesky, the company’s co-founder and CEO, had to move fast to save the company—and he did.

Just seven months after laying off 25% of his staff in May 2020, Airbnb went public with a $47 billion valuation in December of that year. Today, Airbnb is a thriving company with a >$100 billion market cap.

What would you do if your revenue crashed 80% in eight weeks?

While that’s unlikely to happen, you can live vicariously through Chesky and use that question as a frame for figuring out what bold moves you could initiate over the next few months that will position your firm for long-term profitable growth.

By making changes now from a position of strength, you increase the resiliency of your company and create the space to respond powerfully when a real emergency arises.

3 Bold Moves
Here are three “bold moves” you can initiate right now.

1. Fire—then rehire—yourself. As the founder of the company, it can be hard to get a “detached” perspective on what you can/should do in your business. Your identity might be tied up in what you’ve done up to this point to get your company where it is, and to make bold changes might mean you have to admit that what got you here won’t get you there. And that could also mean who got you here won’t get you there.

Changing direction and changing people is never easy, especially if your business is performing well and you’re not in an emergency situation.

One way to jump-start change is to do what former Intel CEO Andy Grove did. He’s famous for “firing” himself when the company faced a “bet the company” decision on whether or not to stay in the memory chip business.

To answer that question, he asked Intel Co-Founder Gordon Moore, "If we got kicked out and the board brought in a new CEO, what would he do?" Moore said the new CEO would get them out of the memory chip business. Cleverly, Grove responded, "Why shouldn't you and I walk out the door, come back and do it ourselves?"

Using this metaphorical “fire yourself,” Grove was able to detach and free himself from the baggage of past decisions that no longer made sense. With this new sense of freedom, he could start a new strategy with a clean slate.

Elliot Weisbluth, the founder of Hightower Advisors, shared on my podcast how he fires himself every year using this strategy.

Think of this in terms of trajectory. Map out what would happen if you continue on your current course for the next five years. Maybe you’re growing 10% per year so in five years, you’ll be 1.6x bigger.

Now, fire yourself and develop a new strategy as if you were a new CEO coming in cold from the outside. What would your strategy be if you felt no constraint from “that’s the way we’ve always done it?”

Let’s say your new strategy leads to 30% growth over the next five years, now you’re looking at being 3.7x bigger.

The gap between your current 1.6x trajectory and your 3.7x possibility is your visible opportunity. Develop your plan, execute the plan and start closing that gap.

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