In the face of dramatic market shifts and uncertainty, growing entrepreneurial leaders within Bigcos is becoming critical for companies to tap into new sources of growth. Corporate leaders are starting to combine approaches like Design Thinking and Jobs to be Done, with Lean Startup and Design Sprints to efficiently pursue disruptive opportunities, but can’t fully maximize those approaches without teams of entrepreneurial leaders equipped to deploy these approaches at scale.

Entrepreneurial leaders need to sprout up throughout an entire organization in order for a Bigco to fully operationalize Lean Growth capability and begin full adoption. Through our Lean Growth Bootcamps, we work with teams and help their leaders begin to flex that entrepreneurial muscle, which involves them overcoming challenges and hurdles in new, quicker ways.

Here are five examples of how a team we partnered with started to overcome challenges and begin to flex their entrepreneurial muscle during their Lean Growth Bootcamp.

Define Before Ideating
You can be the best archer in the world, but if you don’t know the target, you aren’t going to make the shot. Assessing the landscape of their trend spaces and really exploring all of the possibilities is something this Bigco team had never done before. Their first inclination was to apply what they already knew in order to come up with ideas versus nailing the Job they were solving first. We taught them how to building context in their emerging spaces, and to drive the understanding to customer pain-points and Jobs to be Done.

Think Expansively Beyond Industry Walls
When exploring possibilities, leaders tend to view emerging trend spaces through the lens of the predominate core business. In order to come up with disruptive ideas, they had to suspend judgment on what business they were actually in, and think about emerging ways their business could add value in categories among consumers they had not previously considered.
By looking at trends and analogs from outside their industry, they were able to collect a significant amount of external inspiration to pull from in order to create disruptive new solutions.

Tap into Underutilized Resources
When you’re looking through a new lens and new opportunity, you actually see ways you can monetize and leverage assets literally right under your nose.
When coming up with ideas, many teams go in with the assumption that their idea will require them to create something completely new. But through the process of exploring, and by framing up consumer Jobs to be Done and early ideas, this team realized that they had internal capabilities that could be leveraged to build out their idea in a proprietary way. Nobody had ever before connected the dots on those internal capabilities.

Quickly Carry On and Apply Feedback
During frequent leadership check-ins, some ideas were received with positive feedback, but some received more critical pushback. Bigco leaders are used to pitching ideas and getting approval because historically they’d do all of this work to prepare and align, and by the time they’d get to the presentation everyone is already aligned and things move forward. But this was one of the first times this team got this significant feedback; they needed to be agile enough to quickly change the course and overcome the feedback and apply it to move forward. Rather than stop the process, the team kept going. They pivoted, built upon a different idea, and tried again.

Trust the Validated Learning, Not Internal Opinions
A team had an idea that the leadership team really loved from the get-go; so they put together an explainer video and tested with consumers, and the idea tested significantly worse with consumers than they thought it would.  The initial reaction could’ve been, “I don’t trust what the consumers are saying; they just don’t understand it.” But instead, it was a really good pulse check for them. They said, “We made all of these assumptions about this idea and that consumers would just readily adopt it and that is not the case; so we either need to pivot or do some work to make this idea better so that consumers will adopt it.”

It’s not enough to simply train leaders on emerging methods and tools and to then expect different results. To truly operationalize an entrepreneurial mindset and new way of working, you must teach leaders emerging competencies, tools, skills, and a process that prioritizes a roll-up-your-sleeves application of the concepts at every step. When you do that, you create opportunities for struggle, and that’s where the real transformation begins.

Read this case story or watch this case story video to learn more about how companies grow entrepreneurial leaders through Lean Growth Bootcamps.

Explore More