Over the past few weeks we’ve seen how much can change in an instant. Global uncertainty can cause massive analysis paralysis and jam up decision-making—even in the face of an urgent need for action. We’ve had a front row seat to witness how biases (wishes, preferences, and instincts) can prevent us from taking in and learning from new information that makes us uncomfortable.
More than ever before, organizations need to implement a data-centered, bias-busting methodology that equips us to make the best possible decisions. We must embrace the call to fail fast and learn even faster.
That’s the only path to finding original solutions that can then be scaled up in our communities and across the world. While this is a time for taking care of our loved ones, looking out for the most vulnerable among us, and for reducing our physical connections with others, it is not a time for checking out or logging off. This is a time that demands incisive action.
Leaders who step up and act discerningly will set a standard for others to follow. They will have a critical role in shaping the future in exciting and hopeful ways.
When Eric Ries introduced Lean Startup Methodology more than a decade ago—just on the other side of the 2008 financial crisis—his concepts changed the face of business, unleashing an era of entrepreneurship and creativity driven by lean principles. We saw this development primarily in the fast-moving tech sector where a confluence of disruptive technologies gave way to whole new ecosystems, models, and markets.
That incredible era brought forth many innovations in platforms, communications, and services. On the other hand, in many cases the value chain remained unchanged and the potential of these developments has only been partially realized.
The way we work and live has gone through a critical update, but many of the underlying systems were not transformed. This is often how it happens: new technologies are invented, developed, and even evolved, but they don’t create deep change until significant events convince the majority to change their behavior.
Turning points like those only happen when the status quo clearly becomes riskier than making a change. This has been the case in the business and education communities for a while—recent events are merely exposing the risks that have been there all along.
The true risk hasn’t been making small, balanced, calculated bets on innovation, but choosing to remain in the same place as everything changes around us. We are now on the cusp of a huge transition, in part due to the new virus appearing everywhere in the world but moreso, because of an ongoing transformation that is effectively accelerating in our response to the virus.
This transition will likely see the end of mass consumer culture as we’ve known it. Instead, this global mindshift will seed the rise of local innovation and local value creation, which will come hand in hand with the wide-scale adoption of remote work.
Essentially, we are collectively rewriting a new social and economic contract. This will accelerate digitization, as well as drive automation and AI. You can expect to see massive changes in transportation, logistics, travel, retail, healthcare, and learning, to name a few.
This turning point, and the impetus for it, has already begun to create massive disruptions in how we relate to each other and how we organize our lives.
However, another way to look at it is that the waves of uncertainty are really waves of possibility. Although the changes happening will cascade across industries and society, the most important and urgent shift we are facing today is in how we decide to respond. It’s time to act on the best practices in how we work and lead others.
The Lean Startup methodology is a way of thinking, behaving, and leading in a world where everything is changing rapidly around you.
Preparing for multiple scenarios, acting in the face of uncertainty, challenging long-standing assumptions, and making decisions with little to no information will be the skill sets in demand for the foreseeable future. It’s also a time to get very clear about who you are and what you bring. You should fortify your core business, evaluate your value proposition, and practice lean so you can lead from a strong position.
How well are you and your team equipped for this pivot?
Join us for our upcoming webinar on March 19 and 26th on navigating uncertainty in times of crisis. We’ll be facilitating conversation on using the Lean Startup approach to protect your core business during these times of extreme uncertainty. Register for the webinar here.