Why ‘Thinking Big’ Is Not Enough

By Leigh Paulden

Most mid-market, growth businesses have a 10-year plan. New Zealand is a small country and we have to think big and think strategically if our businesses are going to survive. But today, thinking big is simply not enough to survive in the long-term.

Strategic thinking will only take you so far because of one very problematic assumption – that learning from and improving on past successes, will lead to future success.

In my experience working with many businesses across industries and sectors, I have seen that strategy projections will only grow a business to a point. After this, they will stop growing altogether.

Why Growth Stops

There are two reasons why strategy projections will only take a business so far.

  • The world is shifting and the business is not shifting with it.
  • Conventional strategy approaches are designed to encourage businesses to repeat past strategies and performance.

Most businesses and their leaders look at the world from one perspective. It is the perspective they know and from here they make strategy projections. No matter how big you think or how strategic your outlook, it doesn’t change the problem that the world is rapidly changing around us and that you need new thinking to succeed. A change in mindset is needed.

Unlocking New Thinking

This very real problem lead me on a global search to find a proven framework to help business leaders ‘think new’ to identify disruptive and innovative strategies with the outcome of driving long-term company growth.

A framework that could be followed and implemented. And a framework that was proven, with real companies globally.


Outthinker was the only complete framework globally that met my criteria. Outthinker is headed by internationally recognised business thought leader and ex- McKinsey consultant Kaihan Krippendorff. Back in 2004, Kaihan and his team of consultants realised, just as I did, that the traditional strategic planning approach employed by most mid-sized businesses constrained innovative thinking.

In the years since leaving McKinsey, Kaihan and his team developed the Outthinker Process and honed it in practice.

A Proven Framework

Now, Outthinker has been applied to over 300 companies globally including Lockheed Martin, Microsoft and Johnson & Johnson. It is recognised as a leading framework to achieve company-wide strategic clarity, innovation and disruptive strategy.

Most impressively, the framework is proven to accelerate growth rates by 100%-120%.

Outthinker in NZ

After undergoing rigorous training, I am now one of only six Certified Outthinker Growth Strategists in Australasia. I have brought the framework and new thinking to New Zealand and have already seen the impact it is having on my mid-market growth clients.

For example, using the Outthinker process recently, we facilitated the exploration of opportunities for a client that no one had thought of or yet seen. The outcome was a powerful, disruptive strategy spawning a new company that grew to 20% of the size of the parent company in 15 months. This new disrupter company is expected to grow at 100% per year over the next four years, radically disrupting the industry.

A Path to Success

Now we have a clear path to success for mid-market businesses in New Zealand who are looking for global growth.

So at your next strategy meeting, ask yourself – how do we shift our mindset to see the innovative strategies that will take our business into the future? How do we think new and outthink our competition? How do we become a company of the future?


As an internationally certified Senior Gazelles Business Consultant and Outthinker Growth Strategist, Leigh works with businesses serious about growth. As director of Scalable Sustainable Business Growth, he brings proven tools, world-class intellectual property, and time-tested growth concepts to reduce your business pains.

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