How would you like to “fast track” paths to outcomes you seek? You know, avoid unnecessary iterations by leapfrogging over unnecessary steps and obstacles?
How would you like to “fast track” the path to the outcomes you seek? You know, avoid unnecessary steps? Save time? Get there faster?
Leapfrogging is a technique that can help us find a quicker route to our end goal.
I am reminded of my childhood when I hear this term. It conjures up pictures of when in a group of kids one would bend over and the other would leap over them and using their hands on the others backs to springboard a longer jump. However it is a term widely used in economics and business today in conjunction with competitive innovation, particularly around technology.
It is often about radical innovation with which the newcomer companies leapfrog ahead of former leading firms.
One of the best-known example of leapfrogging is the adoption of mobile phones in the developing world. It’s easier and faster to put in cellular towers in rural and remote areas than to put in land lines, and as a result, cellular use is exploding. Mobile phone use already exceeds land line use in India, and by 2007, 150 million out of the 200 million phone lines in an area were cellular.
Think outside the box:
For me leapfrogging is part of “thinking outside the box”. One might conventionally follow a set of steps to a future outcome, or we can look for ways of cutting out or avoiding a few steps to get there faster – thereby leapfrogging the “unnecessary ones”.
I like to use this concept of leapfrogging in numerous situations or opportunities with my coaching clients. For example if we are discussing a client’s next role we look at possible or probable roles that might follow that one. Does the next role create good opportunities to strengthen the path to the following one, or could it restrict that path? What doors could it open and what doors could it close? How could we use the experience and the benefits created by the next one to perhaps obviate an interim role before the role being ultimately sought, thereby “leapfrogging” it?
I also like to guide clients to explore finding ways of short circuiting outcomes using “scenario planning” whereby we might ask: “what’s the worst that can happen” on the one end of the scale and “what could the best possible outcome be” on the other end of the scale. Then we ask what the many different scenarios could be between those points. Once collected, it is like risk management, where it is important to assess the “likelihood” of each scenario and the possible obstacles or possible outcomes. Once all possible and then probable options have been assessed they sometimes form a “signpost” to a much faster or more achievable outcome. The opportunities often “stare us in the face” or “leap out” at us.
I also like to suggest clients use the “mind mapping” tool. I find this helps to not only to use the mind’s “right brain” power of association but to help apply structure to our thinking much more quickly than using conventional “brainstorming”. That way we identify and capture all the scenarios and details we need or imply as well as the associations almost in one go. We have all the branches and twigs and leaves “on one page” and the key
aspects often “jump out at you”. I find this helps get to an outcome or a plan of action much more quickly and “sharply”, which is also a way of practicing leapfrogging.
Having read this far, for which areas or opportunities in your life or work can you see a relevant and useful application of leapfrogging? Go on, why not grab a scratchpad and have a think about what’s on your plate right now, and consider where this might help you get there quicker?
I’m amazed at how often business people “wing it” without taking the trouble to prepare themselves, often citing they are “too busy”. It appears to me you don’t have to be that “smart” to succeed – often just better prepared.
Leapfrogging will inevitably lead to better preparation, because in applying it you need to think through options and explore ideas “outside the square” to find opportunities to short circuit the path of least resistance. (A good read for this by the way is Robert Fritz’ book “The path of least resistance”)
So before your next initiative or project or negotiation or presentation, why not consider adding this concept to your preparation? Once you have mapped out your strategy and tactics and intended steps etc, why not add another round of thinking and look for the opportunities to leap frog some of the steps to a faster outcome?
Alternatively, why not engage a coach to help you get comfortable and confident with getting better results faster in most things that you do?
Now wouldn’t that be a great leapfrogging idea?