Champion a More Entrepreneurial Way of Working with These 4 Phrases

January 23rd, 2019

We’re always solving for what needs to be true for an organization to adopt a more entrepreneurial way of working, not just for one week during a Sprint or ideation session, but truly change the culture of a Bigco.

Many Bigco teams take a training-first approach. For example, we’ve been training senior leaders within a F500 retail company how to take an empathy-first approach when it comes to innovation. This training has affected their approaches, and even impacted some in-progress ideas, but this has also affected how they interact with and motivate one another. They’re asking questions like, “What needs to be true for this to happen?” rather than, “We can’t do that here.” They’re asking “What is the Job to be Done?” rather than, “Will consumers buy this?”

This might just seem like a change in language and word choice, but, in fact, through using these calls to action and terminology throughout their day-to-day, they are championing a new way to think about things and coaching one another to stay on the course of operating in a more entrepreneurial way.  

How can you champion a new way of working with your team? Start by using four phrases and ways of thinking about things:

“What is the pain point?”

Origin:

A pain point is a specific consumer problem or tension at a specific moment in time. These can be real or perceived, and help entrepreneurs approach innovation from an outcome-driven point of view. Identifying pain points requires observing consumers’ actions and behaviors to ultimately build a level of empathy that provides great insight into what will actually make a difference in their life. For example, after watching a consumer go for a sip of their coffee and spill a little bit of it, the observer may conclude there’s a pain point of When I order coffee to-go, it always drips out through the crease between the lid and the cup, spilling on me. The importance of pain points means that the consumer is experiencing some sort of pain that needs to be addressed.

What does this enable?

By asking your teammate, “What is the pain point?” you’re trying to get at the root of what you’re actually trying to solve with an idea or product, and pushing them to do the same. Approaching problems in this way can keep innovators from executing creative “solutions” that aren’t truly solving for anything. Often times, it is the innovations that are led with creativity that fail down the road because consumers don’t see value in adopting them into their current lifestyle.

“What is the JTBD?”

Origin:

The true benefit in empathizing with consumers and acknowledging their pain points as true pain is when you translate it into the problem that can be and should be solved. “What is the Job to be Done here?” Successful entrepreneurs are great at seeing opportunity in consumer problems or Jobs, rather than seeing opportunity in a creative idea or solution.

What does this enable?

Framing ideation challenges that are rooted in a Job to be Done helps to build context of when the innovation might be used, while still offering a solution agnostic outlook prior to brainstorming. For example: Help me enjoy my favorite hot drinks without making a mess. Getting in the habit of assigning a Job to be Done to consumer pain points can help Bigcos cast a motivating vision for their team, creating momentum going into brainstorming.

Learn more about Jobs to be Done and how it is the secret sauce to great ideas.

“What needs to be true?”

Origin:

Successful entrepreneurs are notorious for being scrappy and always “finding a way.” When experiencing a barrier or constraint to an idea, entrepreneurs don’t scrap their idea and start back up at the drawing board. Instead, they ask, “What needs to be true in order for this to work?” This reaction is most helpful and commonly used when someone challenges an idea with, “We can’t do that.”

What does this enable?

Taking a step back and thinking through what initiatives, tools, resources, etc. would need to be put in place to make this work can be a valuable exercise in working through an idea’s overall feasibility and identifying risky assumptions on which to run experiments. Asking this question puts teams into the Growth Mindset to propel them forward with their creative ideas.

“How can we test it?”

Origin:

Rather than shutting down ideas early on, entrepreneurs like to prioritize and derisk them through a process of experimentation. This process involves identifying the riskiest assumptions and running the most efficient tests on them to learn from the results and optimize the idea.

What does this enable?

Experimenting can tell a team where they need to tweak their strategy and what ideas should be deprioritized. It is important to think of “experimentation” very broadly. Depending on the learning objective, the experiment may be as small as a three-question survey or as robust as a mock-up of the product, testing purchase intent. The big takeaway is to experiment frequently and be open to the results. This process is to help determine if you’re getting it right.

If you’re interested in driving change within an organization, starting with a lunch and learn or one-day training session could be a great way to kick it off the journey toward a new way of thinking and working. What needs to be true? Email jason@thegaragegroup.com to schedule one for your team.

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