Most of the time when your friends or family ask you for advice, you find it easy to give an opinion and help out. When you are looking at other people’s lives you find it easy to identify their problems and offer your solutions. However when it comes to giving yourself advice, you have your own emotions involved and you find it difficult be objective. Emotions make you anxious and conflicted, which leaves your mind clouded and obscure. You need to be objective when you give yourself advice. It is not easy but you need to remove yourself out of the situation and ask, if someone in my situation asked me for advice what would I say? Take your situation and pretend its not happening to you. How much easier would it be for you to know what to do?
The Revolving Door Test
In 1985, Intel was in a crisis. The company’s core business was manufacturing memory chips and for a long time Intel had been the world’s only supplier of memory chips. However, over the 15 years prior to the early 1970s, a few competitors had emerged, mainly from Japan. The Japanese competitors manufactured better quality memory chips and Intel was struggling to compete with them; as a result the Japanese competitors market share in the memory chips business had grown to 60%. Andy Grove (President of Intel) and Gordon Moore (Chairman and CEO), senior executives at Intel at the time had a big decision to make. Intel had always been known as a memory chips manufacturer – that was the foundation the company was built on – however Intel had also started developing microprocessors and had recently made a big break when IBM chose to use Intel’s microprocessor for their computers. The senior executives faced a dilemma. Whether to remain in the core business of memory chips which the company was emotionally tied to, or move to the microprocessor business and allow the Japanese competitors to dominate the memory chips market. Andy Grove and Gordon Moore, faced grim and frustrating times. In the middle of 1985, in a meeting between Andy Grove and Gordon Moore at the Intel offices, Andy Grove finally came up with the solution.
I looked out the window at the Ferris Wheel of the Great America amusement park revolving in the distance, then I turned back to Gordon and I asked, “If we got kicked out and the board brought in a new CEO, what do you think he would do?” Gordon answered without hesitation, “He would get us out of memories.” I stared at him, numb, then said, “Why shouldn’t you and I walk out the door, come back in, and do it ourselves?”
The “revolving door test” provided the answer. The senior executives were objective and looked at the situation from an outsider’s perspective. The decision was not a difficult one once they removed all the emotional ties they had with memory chips and how the company was founded. Since that decision in 1985, Intel has dominated the microprocessor market.
Most of the hard decisions you make in life, you can apply the “revolving door test”. If you were someone else, what advice would you give yourself? If you could step back from being yourself, and look objectively at what you’re doing and how you’re living, what changes would you recommend? Give yourself the benefit of a little distance and give yourself some great advice.