There is a great concept that we became aware of about two decades ago. It is called “eating your dog food” or “dogfooding”. In a nutshell, dogfooding means testing and using your own products or services. This seems obvious but we have found that many organizations do not always embrace what they teach. For example, some business coaches do not use business coaches themselves. This seems odd, yet it is a common occurrence in all sectors. It is even described as an old Spanish proverb 'the cobbler's children have no shoes', meaning that someone with a specific skill is often so busy assisting others that their own affairs go unattended.
Three years ago, we decided to write a book. We wanted to share the valuable Exploratory Leadership principles we had learned from more than a decade of workshops with thousands of talented leaders. The book writing process was a complete unknown for us, so we decided to eat our own dog food and create a Packaged Idea MVP (Minimum Viable Progress). The Packaged Idea MVP is a primary principle of Exploratory Leadership that we teach in almost all of our sessions.
A Packaged Idea MVP has three steps:
- Name your idea.
- Identify an MVP (a small step to take).
- Identify a metric for your Idea MVP.
It takes many MVP’s to get to the finished product. Our first Packaged Idea MVP for the book looked like this:
- Name: Explore or Expire
- MVP: Create an outline for the book.
- Metric: Identify a possible table of contents from outline with at least three parts.
From there we had many more MVPs, such as writing each chapter, completing the manuscript, getting an editor, adding examples to the manuscript, finding a book designer, and finding a printer.
The First Edition of Explore or Expire turned out to be a self-published textbook for our network. It was an experiment and the result of many more MVPs. We had a limited number of copies printed, and we sold those copies to past and current participants of our programming.
As our supply of the First Edition dwindled, we were lucky enough to get connected with a great publisher and book expert, Jesse Finkelstein at Page Two Books. Jesse liked the First Edition of Explore or Expire and thus began the journey to publish an engaging Second Edition that could be commercially available.
This launched a whole new set of MVP’s such as hiring Page Two, identifying stories to put in the manuscript, edit stories into the manuscript, create tension and release in the stories, redesign the visual elements in the book and so forth. Here we are, one year later, and these small steps produced the Second Edition of Explore or Expire.
This revised and expanded edition of the book includes engaging stories of many Exploratory Leaders past and present and shares the principles and tools that they used to successfully explore more possibility, launch new ideas and navigate change in this rapidly changing world.
By eating our own dog food (Packaged Idea MVPs), we created a book that will be a legacy for the work we have done over the past 15 years. Small things (MVPs) lead to big results!
We hope you will become an Exploratory Leader, one small step at a time.
The 2nd Edition of Explore or Expire will be available October 10, 2023. Learn more about the upcoming release and how to purchase your copy here.