Think of something you did last year, last quarter, last month, last week. Now ask yourself, “Knowing what I now know, would I make the same decision…”

This is an example of zero-based thinking (ZBT). Zero-based thinking is a way to solve problems and make better decisions.

Zero-based thinking begins with a simple question, like the one above or the similar, “Knowing what I now know, is there anything I am doing today that I wouldn’t start again, if I had to do it all over…”

In response to a ZBT question, there are four options to consider:

  1. Do more of what you are doing (because it is working)
  2. Do less of what you are doing
  3. Stop doing it
  4. Do something different / change your results

ZBT is a creative thinking exercise we can all use to solve problems and create new pathways to grow and expand in business and in life. By helping you validate what’s working and change what isn’t working, ZBT keeps you from second guessing yourself.

The goal of ZBT is to slow down and use experiences and facts to reaffirm decisions already made or to make even better decisions. ZBT can solve problems with people, process, technology, products, services, strategies… the ways to apply ZBT are limitless. 

ZBT also opens you up to possibilities that you otherwise might not consider. With ZBT, your mind is free to think deeply about all the options available, without considering your investment to date. 

So next time you feel stressed or dissatisfied with results, or when you feel certain you need to change course, ZBT can help you gain clarity so you can make better decisions. Your experiences are the best teachers when you use them to learn. You can’t change the past, but you can make better decisions for your future with the ZBT process.

You are a problem solver.

You learn from your experiences.

You push yourself beyond your comfort zone to seek growth.

About the author

Fernando Borghese

Fernando Borghese is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest growing independent agency focused on performance marketing. In this role, Fernando is responsible the day to day leadership and management of the company, encompassing all lines of business. He has a successful track record of building high-performing teams that that deliver measurable impact for Digital Media Solutions and its award-winning vertical-specific brands within highly complex and competitive industries. Under his leadership, DMS has achieved incredible year-over-year growth, which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.