What’s the Headache?

What’s the Headache?

When you are thinking about starting a business, one of the first questions you need to be able to answer is: "What is the headache that I'm solving for, and how bad is the headache?". You need to solve a problem for someone (your target customer) that they recognize (it is a headache) and that they care about (it is a BAD headache). For a really incredible business you need to have a meaningful solution to their headache, not just something that dulls the pain. You need to be able to articulate how you will make the pain go away for good... not just how you can make the pain bearable. Consider the following scenario (based on one of my favourite quotes from Theodore Levitt): People don't want a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole. Theodore Levitt (more…)...
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Good Enough to Great

Good Enough to Great

Perfect is the enemy of good is an old proverb from Voltaire which asserts that a drive for perfectionism can actually prevent you from accomplishing a task at all when a good result could be achieved with significantly less effort.  Perfect results are limited by the law of diminishing returns, so setting the bar at perfection will generally result in escalating costs and timelines in execution. This reality runs contrary to the natural tendencies of many people and many organizations who constantly drive for the perfect result or absolute completion of a task.  Unfortunately in a world of increasing pace, competition, and disruptive innovation a drive for perfection is more likely to result in negative returns and a toxic blaming culture than have any positive benefits. While I am a firm believer in outrageous goals as a mechanism to drive new thought patterns, one has to be conscious that often a good result that doesn't achieve an outrageous goal is far better...
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What’s the Why?

What’s the Why?

Many of us who started our professional lives in a problem solving role have become experts at diving in and developing (and delivering) elegant solutions when we think we see a problem brewing.  Unfortunately too often our tendency to "problem solve" prevents us from successfully defining the problem in the first place.  Our comfort zone is in the solution, but as a leader our key value is in asking the questions necessary to understand the problem. “Good questions outrank easy answers.” -Paul Samuelson For many leaders the idea of stopping to ask questions before solving a problem is akin to watching your house burn down trying to figure out what started the fire rather than just using the fire hose that's lying in front of you.  Unfortunately the reality is that very few problems are as urgent as a burning house. The primary problem with solution driven leaders is Abraham Maslow's Law of the Instrument: If all you have is a hammer, everything looks...
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Leadership Health Care

Leadership Health Care

Does your organization behave like many individuals when it comes to problem resolution, or do you have a proper health care system in place to manage issues? Many people (myself included) have a tendency to treat their symptoms with over the counter drugs or with non-medical remedies passed down through our families, even when the symptoms appear to be chronic. Even when we visit the doctor we often deny the cause of the issue and request treatment for the symptom as we see it. In the same way many organizations fail to or ignore deep seated diseases and instead spend considerable time and resources focusing on the treatment of the symptoms. Seem crazy? Maybe so, but unfortunately it is also far more common than we would like to admit. Let's use a common smoker as an example: Most (if not every) mornings our friendly smoker Joe wakes up with constrained breathing and in many cases a dull headache from the previous days batch...
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