Courageous Minds Only (CMO) began as a source of courage, inspiration, and ideas for corporate leaders to build the future in an uncertain world. Over the years, as leaders have had opportunities through virtual and regional conversations to connect around shared challenges and lessons learned, CMO has evolved into a well-connected community and mindset. We’re excited to continue the conversation here on our blog by sharing our first of three hacks to operating with a Courageous Minds Only attitude. Hack #1 is falling in love with the problem.
Falling in love with the problem sounds counterintuitive, yet its essence is deeply understanding the consumers and customers we’re serving, or hoping to serve, and using that as a basis to frame problems. From there, we start to come up with solutions to solve for them. These solutions may result in tweaks or transformations to your business model.
A lot of us are masters in executing within the business models that we run and operate. But when consumer and customer needs change dramatically, as they have recently and will continue to, we have to be great at shedding what we think we know; seeking the truth; and then re-falling in love with the problems that present the biggest opportunities for our brands and businesses. And, it isn’t as if we’re lacking in available research; we have more data and information at our fingertips than ever before, thanks to publicly available data, big consumer research studies, and data we collect within our own organizations.
The challenge here is to quickly learn and uncover pain points. At The Garage Group, we leverage a lot of digital methods to codify the pain points we’re looking to solve into clear, well-defined problems that we then truly embrace and obsess over solving until we find solutions. We operate with an Einstein-like mentality.
“If I had 60 minutes to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes defining it
and 5 minutes solving it.” – Albert Einstein
Falling in love with the problem allows us to truly understand it. When we don’t seek to understand first and frame up problems in the right way, it’s like an archer setting up to take a shot, but having no clue where they’re aiming. This results in wasted effort, lost opportunity, and hopelessness in ourselves and our teams. On the other side, when we’re clear on what we’re looking to solve, courage and conviction are elevated, and creativity kicks into gear. If we don’t define what we’re going after, we’re limited to the problems we’ve solved before, which results in a ton of wasted effort and longer time horizons.
Great consumer/customer problem definition is the key to searching effectively for solutions, which we’ll dig deeper into with hacks #2 and #3. If we don’t initially nail the problem, we can spend endless months trying to build solutions that may not even solve real consumer and customer needs.
As an example, Nike fell in love with a problem and, in turn, successfully launched Adventure Club. Our team worked with them early on to identify pain points and problems to solve for growing children and their parents.
We’ve seen a recent flurry of activity as companies and brands seek ways to stay relevant in this changing landscape:
There is obviously a lot that goes into M&A activities and corporate and innovation strategy, but companies making bold shifts like the ones listed above aren’t just attaching to new possibilities. They understand specific consumer/customer problems and the value of the solutions they’re building or buying with the intention of accelerating their growth. In essence, they fell in love with new consumer/customer problems that have the potential to push their businesses forward, and in some cases, completely transform them. For some companies, COVID-19 gave them the courage to accelerate, but they’re still deeply falling in love with emergent consumer and customer problems, courageously acting upon them, and capitalizing as a result.
How would you and your team be operating differently if you truly understood the changing needs of your consumers and/or customers?
At the end of our Courageous Minds Only Chats, we always pose the same question to the leaders in the room, “Which insight or piece of advice from today’s conversation will you implement into your life or team tomorrow to enable your organization to move faster and smarter?” In a similar way, we encourage you to think about — and even write down — how you’ll start or continue operating with a Courageous Minds Only attitude after learning about our first hack.
Watch this space for hacks #2 and #3. In the meantime, get in touch with Jason Hauer, TGG Co-Founder & Chief Growth Officer, if you have questions or want to learn more about our CMO Community. He leads a lot of our Chats and is deeply passionate about helping others find the courage, inspiration, and ideas needed to impact their organizations and our world in bold, unique ways.