Business Plan Toolbox: Brilliance Extraction for High-Expertise Businesses

By Stephie Althouse | September 25 , 2018 | 0

brilliance extraction

Making the most of the knowledge of your key people (including yourself!) is crucial for growing and scaling up your business. Discover how to to do just that!


This article is the second one in a series of blogs about the Business Plan Toolbox. If you didn't see the first one, don't worry. Here are the key takeaways:

  • High-expertise companies struggle to convert their high levels of expertise into corresponding success. There is a systematic cause for the five common challenges high-expertise companies are facing (see part1).
  • Discover the importance of Brilliance Extraction™. It is a crucial process for growing and scaling up your high-expertise company. Find out how to extract brilliance out of your key people (including yourself).
  • Choose the right person to do the Brilliance Extraction™ with you/your team (Tip: it is not one of your experts – see why below).
  • Brilliance Extraction™ works great while working on a short business plan (part 3 will be all about that).

Does your company operate based on a lot of expertise? Read on!

Let’s address one of the most pressing challenges high-expertise companies are battling (in part1, I named this challenge #3):

The Core Expertise Of The Company Lives Only In The Brain/s Of One Or A Few Key People.

Even cryptic notes or sketches on a piece of paper in someone’s drawer or in a computer file no one else knows about, are not useable by others.

High-expertise companies often have one or a few key people. Without them the business cannot operate. That puts whether the company can scale up and for how long it can successfully exist at serious risk for several reasons:

  • What would happen if the key person/s left or got sick?
  • The company utterly depends on the expertise a few key people hold.
  • The key person/s can hardly ever get away from the business. They are “hand-cuffed” to it. This can cause burnout over time.
  • Retiring or succession becomes difficult. Many high-expertise companies are hard to sell or pass on when the founders are ready to do so because they will take critical expertise with them.

Discover Brilliance Extraction™

Brilliance Extraction™ is an effective way to overcome this challenge. Brilliance Extraction™ is about pulling processes, procedures, methodologies, thoughts, visions, ideas and goals out of the heads of the key people in the company. The expertise is captured so that it can be used, trained and replicated by others. Both revenues and company valuation go up as a result.

In high-expertise companies, Brilliance Extraction™ is vital because it can cut the risks we talked about. Did you ever consider that the biggest assets of your high-expertise company go home every day? That is your “human capital”.

What Are the Uses for Brilliance Extraction™?

Brilliance Extraction™ can be used for a whole host of purposes, for example:

  • Extract a process or procedure
  • Create a training manual
  • Outline a job description
  • Plan your legacy
  • Create a powerful business plan (more on that in part 3)

Is Brilliance Extraction™ Even Possible?

But isn’t that difficult to do? After all, the experts are brilliant. Not just anybody will understand their knowledge, strategies and ideas. As it turns out, it is much easier to do than most experts realize. Read on!

Consider having an outside facilitator for the process of Brilliance Extraction™.

There are several advantages:

1. Your team of experts knows too much. A smart person who is not an expert in your field will ask you “dumb” questions that turn out not to be so dumb after all. These questions give a fresh perspective on subjects you and your team are taking for granted by now.

2. Brilliance Extraction™ during business planning may open the doors to more extensive opportunities. For example, Brilliance Extraction™ often leads to new systems or even products. It can lead to training systems for use with your team and/or with clients.

3. Brilliance Extraction™ works best through dialogue with someone. It is way better than sitting by yourself in front of a computer, a piece of paper or a video camera.

Caution: Choose a “Brilliance Extractor™” who does not already know too much. Otherwise, critical pieces may be overlooked. Take my husband as an example. He cooks at the level of many chefs (lucky me!). When he shares with me how to cook a dish, he often forgets to tell me part of what is critical for making the meal the way he envisioned it. That is because he takes for granted that I have the type of cooking skills that are second nature to him. They may not be second nature to me. In this example, a great Brilliance Extractor ™ would be not a be a Chef but a person with “normal” cooking skills.

Whether you work with an outside person as Brilliance Extractor™ or pick an appropriate internal person, here are some tips for how to do it.

Tips for Effective Brilliance Extraction™

Case 1: Brilliance is being extracted from you

  • Have the courage to speak what is in your head. Share your vision, thoughts, ideas, goals, and strategies. You might also share other things you know how to do well. Don’t worry about organizing any of this in your head first – that will come later. Treat it as a brainstorm. For example, you might identify a complex process that is currently only mastered by one or two people on your team. The process might be in your own head. A great goal would be to capture and outline this process, so others can learn it. This is immediately valuable because with such steps your company can scale up.
  • Let the other person/s document what you say. Video or audio recordings work well. In a pinch, a pen will do, too.
  • It is inexpensive to hire someone to transcribe what you said. You can use the material not only for your Business Power Plan™ but also for training materials, new products, articles, books and more.

Case 2: You are the person doing the Brilliance Extraction™

  • Listen!
  • Ask questions to support the other person in expressing their thoughts.
  • Document / record what he/she says.
  • Have someone organize the extracted material. If you like, ask me for a complimentary session, and I will help you.
  • For the Business Power Plan™, organize the extracted thoughts into the appropriate section of the plan.
  • For extracting more extensive knowledge, consider how it can be used. Should it be converted into training material, a system, a manual, or...?

In summary, we talked about a powerful method that is vital for supporting growth in high-expertise companies. Brilliance Extraction™ pulls unique ideas and knowledge out of yourself and other key players on your team. If you want to read more about Brilliance Extraction™ click here.

Let me know how it is going for you. I am happy to connect with you.

In part 3, I will show introduce you to Business Power Planning™. Discover how you can create an effective Business Plan on 2-3 pages. Do this with the experts on your team to get their input and begin the process of Brilliance Extraction™ at the same time. I bet the results will excite you.

Have a top-notch day!

Dr. Stephie

Posted in Simple Business Plan

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