The power of disagreement

Being in disagreement sucks. Not only is it a sure way of ensuring you defocus from what you should ideally be working on. It also can be completely draining of energy. And depending on how the disagreement plays out, it can be downright nasty and make you want to head for the exit.

But there is actually real power in disagreement. If you are able to unleash it.

When we violently disagree on something, it is an opportunity to broaden our own horizons and get creative about new ways of looking at the world and new solutions to existing problems.

Looked at it that way being in disagreement can be the biggest catalyst of positive change in your team and your business. It can provide that ‘Heu-re-ka’ moment you all need to move on in a better direction.

But it requires something. It requires removing your ego from the equation and not be tempted to view disagreement as a personal matter that has more to do with you as a person and your relationship(s) with the one(s) critiquing you. If you fall in that trap, you’re immediately on the slide towards the dark side.

Instead you should be asking yourself: “What can I learn from this?” and “Where’s the bigger and important point in what the other one is arguing?” and then work onwards from that.

Now, in fairness, it’s super hard to do. Especially if you have great pride and integrity, and you’re passionate about what you work with. That sets you up pretty well for taking a slap to the face very personal.

But try to steer clear of it and focus on the opportunity. It will most likely be way better for your business, your team, your relationships with team members. And yourself, of course.

(Photo by Afif Kusuma on Unsplash)

”What’s your pain?”

One of the worst sins you can commit with a customer IMHO is to just babble on about your own qualities and all the cool things your product can do, without even considering getting a feel for what the customers problem first.

I know. Because I have committed this sin a lot of times. And lived to regret it.

In start of going in and just pitching what you have, you should start by asking what problem(s) the customer is experiencing.

When they then start talking about their pain(s) – and you ask good follow-up questions – you start getting a feel for what they need. And if you’re any good you’re able to put yourself and your product into that context as THE solution to the customers problem(s).

Relief of pain is important for customers. A lot of them will probably even be measured on their ability to solve a problem, deliver a specific result og succeed at some level, where your help and product could be the missing tool they need.

And if the pain is big enough, and you position yourself and your solution exactly where the pain is, the chances of you making a sale is much, much bigger.

When you think about it it’s not really rocket science. It’s ‘just’ a matter of being able to start out listening more than you have the propensity to talk.

Just ask: “What do you need?”. And then take it from there.

(Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash)

Challenge the status quo

What is the one thing driving startup opportunity in the post-pandemic era?

The willingness of everybody to challenge the status quo and be open to new ideas, new ways of doing things and – with that – new products and services from new and inspiring companies with strong value propositions.

Now, what is the status quo?

Actually it is two things. And most of us are eager to leave both behind.

There is the status quo of the pandemic lockdown. Of course we want to be rid of that and get our freedom back.

But there is also the status quo of what was before the pandemic, and where we have had more than a full year contemplating what if anything that was before we would like to change. And how changing things are actually – even if forced by a pandemic – (by and large) less painful than what we imagined it to be.

Look at it this way:

The barriers of “that isn’t possible” or “I don’t need that” have been lowered by the past 12+ months of Covid-19.

If that isn’t a signal of opportunity to reimagine and reinvent things, I don’t know what is.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Who’s your debriefer?

The documentary “The Mole” by Danish documentarist Mads Brügger about North Koreas dodging of UN sanctions is not only brilliant and important in its own newsworthy self. It also has an important lesson for entepreneurs.

In the documentary the importance of the debrief is touted; when you have been undercover and alone for years, you need to have someone you can talk to about your experience in order to get back to normal and – to some extend – keep your sanity.

I think the same goes for entrepreneurs;

Entrepreneurship can be an extremely lonely game. There are a lot of times, where the challenges are mounting, they need to get solved in a good way – and the only one on deck to make sure it happens is you.

It brings not only long, long hours. It brings sleepness nights. It brings detachment from your loved ones, because you’re thinking about the fix you need to come up with rather than be present in what you’re doing.

It is lonely. L-o-n-e-l-y.

A lot of time you may feel like you have little to win but everything to lose, and the pressure just build and build.

Unless you have an outlet for it. Someone to talk to.

Someone in charge of your debrief.

Someone on point to keep you track, sane and balanced in your life. So you can keep up doing what you’re doing (and most likely love doing anyway) without crashing against the wall.

So make sure you have a great debriefer in your life. It is that important.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Standards and solutions

It is great that a group of the worlds biggest players within the IoT-space have come together to form Project Connected Home over IP; an initiative to develop more common standards for IoT-devices large and small.

So far one of the big issues with regards to IoT has been a lack of standards. Lots ot things loosely joined – or sometimes not joined at all. Besides creating a focus on technology itself it has also made the usecase almost hopeless for many normal people. Just visit one of the many forums for smarthome-early adopters and watch the agony of trying to make things work.

Normally I don’t believe in technology before figuring out the problem. But in this case, I think that getting closer to standards will actually enable us to focus more on the problems and the use cases for real customers. And thus also the ability to start to fulfill the huge potential of IoT.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Fixing from the outside

When you start looking at problems in the world, one of the interesting indicators of a problem is to look at the number of people trying to solve problems within a sector outside of the established system.

Personally, I find it mindblowing to read that a survey done across a number of countries from 2010-2015 documented that more than a million people where involved in seeking solutions to their own medical needs. Essentially patients doing the work of doctors or the healthcare industry.

I am sure the healthcare sector is not the only one where this is the case, so the big idea here is: Instead of insisting on having all the answers yourself, look at how many people – preferably customers – are looking towards fixing the issues, they have. The more they are trying, the bigger the pain. The bigger the pain, the bigger the opportunity.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)