Image_BFW_TBAExtrapolation is the ability to understand the principle behind an example and apply it to new circumstances. In fact, your ability to do so is a direct measure of your ability to fully understand the principle, not just copy the example.

In our fast-paced world with instant answers at the tip of our fingers, it’s easier to get an “answer” quickly and then move on with rest of your work. But if you think “work” is simply cut and paste, staying busy, and putting in your hours, think again. Are the answers so easily accessible you have forgotten how to extrapolate? Don’t become an automaton! The real work is reasoning, questioning, and looking for the root truth behind the examples that you are given so you don’t continue to require them for every situation.

We work with many young people in the colleges and in the work force. The question we often get is, “How can I move ahead in my career?” We think these young folks are very bright and capable, but they have grown up with a technology that can easily become a crutch as it panders to our inherent desire to want to do things in the easiest way possible without acquiring core understandings. It also panders to our desire to want everything in short bites, tweets, texts and the favorite, “just tell me the one thing…” Like, “Just tell me the one thing that makes the airplane fly.” OK, “It’s lift! Now, go build a plane!”

If you want a raise or a promotion you will have to prove to your boss that you got it, really got it; that you are not just cookie-cutting, not just copying-and-pasting, but actually applying what you have learned to a new situation. That’s the only way you will ever gain more responsibility, stature and compensation. And, by the way, respect.

Once your boss learns that he or she can trust and depend on you, you have proven your true value. Your boss needs the peace of mind that only comes when your decisions consistently demonstrate that you know what you are doing, and more importantly, why you are doing it.

Don’t look at work as putting in your “time.” It’s not just time you’re putting in, it’s decisions. When you just want the answers with no interest in the reasons and the principles behind them, you’re not learning, you’re copying. Don’t let the technology make you so lazy that you stop using your reasoning ability. Keep asking “why” till you understand the principle. Don’t look at the example that you are given to answer your “like what?” question as a one-off or isolated application, but as part of a bigger picture.

If you want that raise or promotion, get the bigger picture. The higher your viewpoint of the organization, what it’s doing and why, the greater your opportunities for advancement. Bosses want to delegate, especially in a growing organization. In fact, companies can’t grow without it. But the folks at the top who do the delegation have to feel confident that you understand the business as well as they do, so when they give you that power, you will make decisions the same way they do, or even better!

The real work is learning the reasons behind decisions and examples, learning the principles behind those reasons, extrapolating those principles to different conditions, and using those principles to make right decisions. Only then can you earn a promotion!

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact