Customer Service, Lean, Product Thoughts, Startup

Are you open to new ideas? 3 Ways to Make Sure.


Neon Open Sign

Originally uploaded by gregmeyer

Are you open to new ideas? Do you spend some of your time every day thinking about divergent or weird things? Have you challenged yourself to question the ways things are done lately?

At the 6 month mark of re-entering the life of a startup, when I look back at the time I spent in Big Company, I realize that I didn’t spend enough time asking other people out loud why things were the way they were.

So, here are 3 ways that I make sure that I’m open to new ideas in my every day life at Gist.

#1: Talk to Customers.

This one should be obvious. But yet in my previous roles I spent a lot of time talking to the people who talk to customers rather than talking to customers myself. Now, I spend at least 1-2 hours a day either in front of customers or talking to them on the phone. It’s part of my role as a Customer Experience Manager, but it’s critical to my role as a manager of the business.

#2: State your assumptions, measure them, and re-state them.

It’s easy to say “I’m going to go do something.” It’s harder to say “I’m going to do something, I’m going to measure it this way, and then I’m going to examine what I found.” And it’s hardest to do the thing, measure it, determine what happened, and plot a course to change it (all while not letting the other tasks in your job drop). Juggle some plates, but make sure you evaluate and act upon what you learn.

#3: Spend more time doing, and less time planning.

This may seem like a contradiction given my last statement, but it’s better to try some ideas, to be open to new possibilities, and to learn quickly that they don’t work rather than scheming for a technological silver bullet.

Start with the talking to the customers point: it’s never boring, and they always tell you something new.

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