Bending the Curve

We started the week talking about Craig Groeschel’s admonishment that leaders must ‘bend the curve.‘ You must get more value from your resources, time, and money than we would traditionally expect.

Today we’re going to talk about two practical techniques that you can use to figure out how to bend the value curve.

The Apollo 13 Approach

In the movie Appollo 13, the astronauts in the broken capsule have plenty of oxygen in reserve, but they will soon suffocate from too much carbon dioxide. Scientists have to figure out how they can solve the problem using only the materials that they have.

To bend the value curve, you can do the same thing. Start with the vision statement for your project. Then catalogue the resources that you have.

Then ask the question: How do we realize the vision of the project with the resources that we have?

Then figure out how to answer the question. Don’t allow yourself to say, “we can’t achieve the vision.” Don’t adjust your vision or increase your resources. Figure out how you are going to realize the vision of the project with the resources that you have.

If you are forced to figure it out because you have no other option, you will.

And now take a moment to watch one of my favourite scenes in any movie:

The Eliminate-Reduce-Raise-Create Grid

A second way to bend the curve is to use the Eliminate-Reduce-Raise-Create Grid. The grid was created by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne and explained in their book Blue Ocean Strategy. There are four parts of the grid. If you apply all four concepts, you will come up with a project result that will address the problem in a completely new and effective way.

The four quadrants of the Eliminate-Reduce-Raise-Create Grid are:

  • Eliminate: In your solution, remove something that you would have thought would be absolutely necessary.
  • Reduce: What concept or offering can you reduce to well below expectations?
  • Raise: Think about average results for similar projects to yours. Think about an area (for example a deliverable or quality level) that you could raise well above the average project delivery.
  • Create: What is something new that you could deliver through this project that isn’t customarily delivered through these types of projects?


Here is an example of an Eliminate-Reduce-Raise-Create Grid for a donor acquisition project.

  • Eliminate: Remove the need to have galas and high-profile donations.
  • Reduce: Human interaction. Automate all of the connection points possible.
  • Raise: The number of people who are aware of the charity or cause.
  • Create: A platform that donors can use to see where their money is going and how others are donating.

I didn’t start out intending to describe any particular organization, but as I explained this eliminate-Reduce-Raise-Create Grid, I realized that this describes Kiva pretty well.

Bend The Curve

Find ways to bend the curve. Know your project vision, understand your resources, and make a change in the world. Your work will have a significant impact.