Josh Linkner on Becoming an Everyday Innovator Through Big Little Breakthroughs
Josh Linkner shares why tiny innovations can yield oversized results for business development professionals and how small experiments can lead to game-changing breakthroughs.

Josh Linkner shares why tiny innovations can yield oversized results for business development professionals and how small experiments can lead to game-changing breakthroughs. Learn why you should never forget the dinner mint when interacting with prospects and clients, how to run mini experiments, and how to boost your business development efforts with a little dash of creativity.


Mo asks Josh Linkner: What is your big idea on how listeners can focus on business development, grow their book of business and relationships, and grow their careers?

  • Josh’s big idea is actually a little idea. We don’t need to bet everything on a single idea because innovation isn’t restricted to billion dollar ideas that change the world. When we think of creativity as small little acts or micro innovations it becomes more accessible, less risky, and actually builds additional skills over time.
  • Many professionals struggle with doing any business development at all. The work always seems to get in the way and breaking it down to little acts makes it much more likely you will get things done and see actual results.
  • Little acts of innovation could be changing up the form of your prospecting email or experimenting with the way you run a sales meeting. It’s small adjustments or counter intuitive acts of creativity that unlocks big results.
  • Josh tells the story of how his relatively small business landed a $30 million contract by a simple act of innovation and everyday kindness.
  • Look for anything you can test within your business processes because business development isn’t a mysterious skill you need to learn; it’s just a series of small experiments.
  • One of the techniques that Josh uses to initiate innovation is the Judo flip. Look at the prevailing approaches in your industry and think about what the polar opposite might be.


Mo asks Josh Linkner: How can professionals use the concepts of Big Little Breakthroughs to close more business?

  • In the research for the book, Josh uncovered eight core mindsets of everyday innovators. One mindset in particular is called “Don’t forget the dinner mint.”
  • For a business development person, adding a little creative flourish to each interaction you have in the course of business. A small 5% increase in effort can generate disproportionate outcomes.
  • If you’re pitching your services to a prospect, before you hit the send button, think about what extra you can add that is unexpected. It could be an extra feature or shorter delivery time. Every single touchpoint or interaction with a prospect is an opportunity to add a little extra.
  • Every extra touch can drive a significant impact in terms of your overall results.
  • It doesn’t always have to take the form of an extra service; it could also take the form of a unique experience.
  • The dinner mint strategy can also help differentiate your business from other service providers.
  • Another idea has to do with the notion of experimenting being very provocative. What if every week you ran five little experiments in your business processes? This is how you can find tiny innovations without risking too much, and if you land on a winner, you can expand it out once you have enough data to justify it.
  • Instead of thinking you need to come up with one idea to transform your business, what if you came up with three smaller ideas each week? When you break them down into smaller bets, it’s much less risky and you increase the odds of winning over the long-term.
  • Your creativity is more like your weight than your height. You can adjust your weight with your behavior and your creativity works the same way.


Mo asks Josh Linkner: How do we use the Big Little Breakthrough concepts to deepen relationships?

  • Creativity and innovation are tools that we use to focus on product development or marketing, but they also apply to relationships.
  • In a relationship setting, think about the other person’s big problem and about how to solve their issue.
  • The more you fall in love with your client’s problems, and the more they view you as someone who is aligned with them, the relationship becomes transformed.
  • Mo had a similar experience with a lawyer friend he had where he had to have a difficult conversation with her but the end result was that it completely changed her career trajectory.
  • Feedback is a gift. If you care about somebody you have to be willing to have hard conversations with them. If you do, you demonstrate that you care about them and that deepens the relationship.
  • Failure is a part of life, in terms of relationships, those are opportunities to deepen relationships. Owning your mistakes and doing what it takes to make it right is how you show integrity in relationships.
  • Doing a feedback session after a loss sets up the next win. Even when you win, there is an opportunity to ask for feedback on how to improve. This shows that you are always working on your game and are committed to over delivering. This takes your relationship from transactional to one of substance.


Mo asks Josh Linkner: How can we hack our habits with Big Little Breakthroughs?

  • The short-term tends to scream the loudest, to the detriment of the long-term. Over the next 12 months, if all you do is what you’ve done before, you’re likely to fall about 30% short of the results you could have achieved. Too often we overestimate the risk of trying something new and underestimate the risk of standing still.
  • Think of your effort, time, and energy in the same way that you do as your stock portfolio. You wouldn’t take all your money and invest it entirely in one stock. The same principle has to apply to your time. It’s important to carve out some of your schedule to be strategic and think about the future.
  • Some day a company will come along and put you out of business, it might as well be you. A constant stream of reinvention allows you to control at least some of the inevitable disruption that will happen to your business.
  • The first thing is to try a 5% adjustment. Carve out just two hours each week for the next four weeks where you’re not going to do anything tactical and only focus on heads-up strategic thinking. Josh has issued this challenge to thousands of people around the world and found they experienced a 0% decline in productivity but by the end of the 30 day period, most people report that those two hours are the most productive time they spend.
  • Use your creativity to solve your short-term problem and it will, in turn, solve your long-term problem.
  • The first thing you need to do is challenge the assumption that it’s impossible to be more efficient or to find space to commit to head-up thinking. Creatively rebalancing your calendar and creating an untouchable day or untouchable morning can make a huge difference.
  • If we want certain desired outcomes, it’s the rituals and rewards that will support them.
  • If you need help saying no, make a list of things you are going to stop doing. Having a simple framework (Think, Do, Feel) can help you benchmark things against so you will make better choices.


Mo shares his insights from the habits of Josh Linkner.

  • Don’t forget the dinner mint. Don’t forget to add an element of surprise and delight for each interaction you have with a prospect or client. That tiny amount of extra effort often has an outsized impact on the end result.
  • There was a study that showed the effect of different ways of adding dinner mints to people’s meals and they found some pretty interesting results. Little good things have a big weight because they are unexpected. When you add up the little surprises and delights, they can outweigh the inevitable bad experiences.
  • The most valuable things you can do are things that help your client succeed, both on a professional level and a personal level. These could be little ways to innovate the delivery or make the experience a little more unique. You could also improve the process or offer them additional information or connections.
  • Tweaking the way you do things and measuring the results can lead to incredible breakthroughs. One example is the way that Mo offered webinars and follow up content. One simple tweak led to 10x times the result.
  • Small, low risk experiments in each area of your business will yield some incredible results. Not everything will succeed, but that’s why they’re small.
  • Fall in love with the problem, not the solution. What can you deliver that will be streamlined and effective, but also unique? A simple improvement would be to describe what you do in your client’s language instead of your own. A little extra effort in the delivery and presenting the solution in the client’s own language will make it feel completely unique to them and create a much more memorable experience with your business.



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