In the face of dramatic market shifts and uncertainty, continuing to adapt and learn quickly have become top priorities for Bigcos wishing to remain relevant. Smaller, growth mindset-driven Startups are creating disruptive value propositions and are able to adjust to changing market conditions much quicker than their fixed mindset Bigco counterparts. Sensing a need to shift, corporate leaders are starting to leverage approaches like Lean Startup and Design Sprints to efficiently pursue disruptive opportunities, but aren’t fully maximizing those approaches because of a lack of hustle. That is, fully embracing the key entrepreneurial skills and mindsets required to truly activate the power of Lean Innovation capability within their organizations.
Hustle is at the core of who we are at The Garage Group. With our Startup-inspired mission, we work to maximize the efforts of every part of our team in order to drive better and more effective results. In our Hustle Handbook, we outline the five behaviors that are critical to innovate, disrupt, and make progress in the face of uncertainty:
1. Relentlessly Pursue the “Why”
Companies, ideas, and initiatives all start with a vision for the future, and yet, many businesses have a difficult time clearly articulating their purpose. Figuring out the “why” behind what you do far outweighs the importance of the “what” or the “how”. Simon Sinek, author of best-selling book “Start With Why”, is an avid believer in the “why” of a process much more than the process itself. In his book, he explains “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Aligning your company on its purpose and mission decreases dissonance within the organization, and allows ideas and projects to move forward faster. Sinek references powerful examples like Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership in the Civil Rights movement and Apple’s commitment to challenge the status quo and produce innovative products to demonstrate the importance of understanding why you exist and why you get out of bed every morning. For many entrepreneurs, the “why” of their business often aligns with their personal goals and passions, creating momentum to drive action within their Startup. Knowing the “why” of your company gives vision, and with vision comes focus, resilience, and influence–three key factors to success. For Bigco leaders, identifying your “why” and connecting it to your work often times is the missing link to having the courage to take a risk on a new approach or to have the grit to stick with a challenging project even after facing some adversity.
2. Squeeze the Juice out of your Resources
Startups are almost always facing a resource constraint, whether it is time, money, or people. Because of this, success comes from teams who optimize all of their resources, squeezing the juice out of them. Bigco leaders generally have resources at their disposal, but don’t always see them or fully utilize them. To open your mind to resource possibilities, we encourage you to search across three primary areas from which you can squeeze the juice– your own strengths, your network, and any physical assets available at your disposal. This can manifest in an infinite number of ways, from engaging your network to quick, scrappy consumer testing on a product idea. Leaders expand their influence and access when they leverage their resources effectively by not only asking “What can I get?” but also “What can I give?” Bigcos have a unique opportunity in this space, with a vast resource pool to draw from. By squeezing the juice out of your resources, you are engaging in the full potential of yourself as well as your company.
3. Embrace the Growth Mindset
There are two kinds of mindsets: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. A fixed mindset says that my abilities are fixed and my value is based on my ability to do well against those skills. A growth mindset says that my abilities are malleable, with my value being placed on working hard and continuing to grow. Leaders who hustle are those who continue to push, try, and (inevitably) fail in pursuit of a growth mindset. Centered around an individual’s willingness to fail, a growth mindset fosters resilience; it arms you with the grit to tackle tough challenges, and find success. While entrepreneurs tend to embody the growth mindset more than most, it is not an exclusive commodity. The beauty of the growth mindset is that you are not born with or without it, but instead can train it like a muscle by constantly pushing yourself–and your company–to learn, try, and do new things. Encouraging a growth mindset can be as simple as reading an interesting article, or listening to a podcast. Ideas can come from unexpected places; a growth mindset is simply the vehicle that gets you to those places.
4. Showcase Agility
Agility is a key element of staying with and getting in front of changing market conditions. Startups can and will pivot their businesses on-demand to capitalize on opportunities. Too often, we see Bigcos who are reluctant to adjust to changing markets or new information, and struggle to act on opportunities quickly. Companies that critically assess their current position against their future opportunities can rapidly make decisions in order to pursue their vision. Asking questions like “Are we actually talking to the right people?” or “Given this situation, what has to be true to move forward?” can help a company to be proactive instead of reactive, allowing for a critical pivot before it’s too late. Due to a constantly evolving landscape, even the best-laid plans must be modified as time goes on. By being receptive and open to that change, Bigcos and Startups alike can put themselves in the optimum position for success.
5. Operate with Urgency
Having the drive to push your business forward each and every day is one of the key factors when operating with urgency. Urgency is the motivation each day to stay on top and to respond quickly when you get knocked down. Steve Case, founder of AOL, showcases the importance of urgency when referring to the first wave of internet adoption. Microsoft had just released MSN, a direct competitor to AOL, and was the first company to offer unlimited services for a flat fee, undercutting AOL’s prices. Case, knowing that time was of the essence, convinced his team to work through the weekend so that the following Monday, AOL could announce its own updated pricing. In doing so, AOL was able to avoid MSN taking a large chunk of their customers while simultaneously opening the door for a new revenue source–online advertising. Operating with urgency enables BigCos to avoid getting left behind, as well as capitalize on new, momentary opportunities.
In this fast-paced world, the ability to hustle is crucial to adapting on-demand. Thinking and working like an entrepreneur encourages exciting ideas, innovation, and progress, no matter the size of the company.