Andrew Penny, October 10 2023

Consider the Lobster

How to break out of your shell

Some companies soar to greatness while others plod along, slow and steady; steady that is until the world shifts and they become obsolete… Consider the lobster. The lobster has a tough exoskeleton that protects it from predators. It lets it live a relatively safe and steady life. However, that safety comes with a big downside - it can't grow. As the lobster gets larger it is constrained by its shell. Unless it can get rid of its shell, it will die.  Adult lobsters upgrade their shells one or two times a year. They break out of their old one and go into hiding for a couple of weeks until the new shell hardens and they can move on bigger and stronger. 

To survive in business, we all build models of how the world works. Once we get comfortable with these models, we tend to stick with them. And whether we recognize it or not, these paradigms constrain our beliefs about what is possible.

Casting off the protective paradigms is hard - What does it mean? What does it look like? Why isn’t it crazy? How would I transition to a new way? What happens to my team? What competition would I face? How would I ever fund it?

The 10X Exercise

A very effective exercise is to 10X your company. Current sales $10M – what would have to be true to reach $100M? Currently serving 300 clients.. how would you serve 3,000? Products, pricing, production, support finances etc…  Go through a personal white board exercise. Involve your executives. Cast off the old shell and think your way into a new one.

  Is it time to break the paradigm that you have been using to hold yourself back?Hey, if a 2lb lobster can do it twice a year– what’s stopping you? 



PS – If you’d like me to help you run a 10X exercise, send me a note

Written by

Andrew Penny


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