On the hunt for product market fit? Looking to find a new offer to dramatically decrease churn? Your audience is “just not getting it”. This word – diversity is not just part of “the buzz”. Here’s what I learned while looking for creative ways to get creative.
I’ve been working with tech companies to design and execute their path for growth for 7 years now. And all this based on my personal experience and scars.
I thought that it was time to step out of my box. Time to look for tools for startup growth with someone who deals with a different kind of growth . #Multidisciplinerocks.
Last week, I met with Dr. Eyal Doron for a midday coffee break to brainstorm a potential partnership . I had wanted to meet with this unique person for quite a long time now. Eyal stands out to me because he is bold, speaks up about what matters to him, and leads by example. What’s more, he’s also a basketball player (always important).
I was hoping we’d hit it off. Both of us believe creativity is always achievable. Both of us believe there are many ways to address a challenge. Both of us are here to help leaders work out of the box vs. think out of the box. Both of us – combine systematic yet out of the box processes to reach our outcomes. Both of us believe it’s our duty and we’re grateful to connect our passion, obsession and profession.
Luckily we did.
Lessons for startups from the world of education and creativity
I shared the massive challenge all startups face with Eyal: Product-market-fit. I asked Eyal what could help them to speedup identifying Product-Market-Fit? His answer: Embrace diversity.
“You said you need to test many things to reach PMF right? So it means you want to find as many things to test too. If you want to see things from a different angle, you should engage different approaches. It’s not about putting your thinking cap on, or for that matter, putting on a different thinking cap. It’s about taking different actions. First, by bringing different people into the room. Second, by giving them room to grow and to influence your company”.
“Startup teams have a lot in common with students and their parents. In some classrooms, a diverse group of people who think and act differently come together. They do share a few key values which is important. When facing a challenge, this group will achieve a different result. And usually, they’ll get a better result. Why? diversity.
What is diversity?
When we drilled down into what diversity means, I was happy to find that we shared the same understanding. Diversity is a mindset. It’s not just about bringing together people of different genders or race. To win at diversity, you need to go broad. Bring together people of different ages, educational backgrounds, upbringing, and culture. Even people with different lifestyles and hobbies inspire each other to think different.
Diversity as a tool for strategic decision making
Strategic decision-making can be data-based, or based on a principle of “test everything.” But, how do you make sure you do test everything?
In today’s world, data based decision-making is a preference. Yet, the approach to connecting the dots may still vary. The same data map could lead to various assumptions. When you have a diverse team in the room, you’ll get the most alternatives for the company to consider.
For example, funding rounds or financial decisions. These strategies are affected by facts but also, by various opinions. These opinions derive from backgrounds, upbringings, experiences and personalities of the people involved. Without any of them prejudicing the company’s best interests. Data shows how much funding the company uses, and needs. Yet, what are the various funding alternatives? Different people and their personal approach to risk and reward- might come up with different alternatives.
Dr. Doron pointed out how in cases like these a diverse team could go as far as identifying a potential growth path. Give this diverse team some time and mileage to storm, form and build trust. You’ll soon find they may adopt an idea that isn’t on the yellow brick road of startup funding.
What’s more, diversity doesn’t only influence the strategies that are chosen. With diversity you may also find new action plans. Things that would have been crossed out seem like a good alternative, and doable.
Diversity as a tool for optimizing execution.
With more diversity, the company enjoys a richer and more valuable decision-making process. And, moreover a diverse team to execute. Diverse execution qualities are key. You know how we always prefer to recruit our cloned next gen?Diversity ensures that every task has a perfect fit to best execute.
Eyal shared a story from his latest summer camp. He’s very well known for these events and the waiting list is craaazy. Last summer, he grouped kids of different ages, different upbringing and nationalities. First, playfulness was automatically added. Then, there was a shift in energy (young vs teenage). And execution wise: teens with their know how from school. School drop outs who know how to get along with little to nothing, . And, youngsters who were easy to motivate and became proud “go fetchers” . It wasn’t just about grouping a different type of team, but also giving them tools from other “worlds” to do the work.
Using R&D processes for marketing success
In my world, marketing is my known forte. Luckily, I have compounded nearly a decade of product management. I now use use 2 to 3 week “marketing sprints” as my execution process. A systematic approach that I took from the product world.
By using the product and R&D tactics of sprints I break down marketing activities. First, sprints reason with founders who lack the connection to my marketing world. It’s a system they use and appreciate. Second, sprints enable small measurable results that have a compounding effect. Last, with these unique marketing sprints tech founders never feel out of the loop. A feeling that usually leads to procrastinating marketing strategies and actions.
The same goes for assumption mapping . A process I now use for growth plans and Product-market-Fit hunts. Kids may learn to approach science fair projects this way (or on a larger scale, lab managers). And yet, only through opening up to other thought processes could I ever encounter this. With sprints and assumption mapping, we now compound tens of tests per quarter. thus, boosting the hunt for product-market-fit.
How to infuse diversity into your company
Bringing greater diversity to the startup world might sound like a huge task. However, there are many small, practical ways to achieve it. It’s important to remember that being small and resourceful can still take you a long way.
As I mentioned above, diversity is not just about sex and race.
Why wait? Diversify now
Some first steps for infusing your company with diversity include:
- Practice equal employment opportunity. Find people with many years of experience and add them to your team. Not just respectfully, but eagerly.
- Add technical team members to sales and marketing discussions. There are two reasons for that. If they understand the messages there are higher chances your audience will too. (These are binary thinkers, so either they will get your messages or they won’t; there’ll be no hesitation.). Second, a we feeling is always a back wind.
- Create cultural melting pots. Even little steps like internship programs from overseas. These introduce new vibes, a new way of doing things and different thought processes to your team. It also pushes a high value of respect to a higher ground.
- Embrace volunteer work as a team and individuals. Within a few minutes, your team can find itself in a whole new culture. Overtime, these encounters with any group that is different to us is educational. Be it children with special needs, refugees, preschoolers and senior citizens.
- Online training. Offer your whole team the same enriched experiences that management enjoys offline.
- Share talks and presentations about different topics. For example, a data science company could learn about different education methods. Productivity companies could hear about medical research. Robotics companies could view a presentation on sports competition and athletes. This can be very low budget too. Choose a cool TED talk and either screen it on your weekly happy hours or send via Whatspp or Slack.
- Watch documentaries together. They could be about anything. Rock bands and artists, Olympic gold winners, judges (yes, RBG), and mathematicians or physicists.
Start with adding diversity to your morning coffee
At first, I thought Dr. Doron and I would talk creativity inside out. I questioned how my passion for messaging, alignment, and growth hacking would connect with Eyal’s world . But I’m grateful that I followed my hunch and that he agreed to meet. It all came together amazingly well – like diverse approaches generally do.
I hope my experience meeting with Eyal should inspire you to a few things:
1. Make time for morning coffee with people that are not up your alley.
2. Add diversity to your company. In any way shape or form.
3. Open up and embrace everything this world has to offer to lead your team and company to true growth, inside and out.
Meet NG at the upcoming AWS Founders club event
Also published on Medium.