Recent Insights

A New Mindset

In our first insight piece, we featured the elusive nightingale, a rare creature of beauty, being pursued by the king’s courtiers. Unfortunately, the courtiers had no idea what the nightingale sounded like, so how could they find her? In my experience as CEO, this is familiar to me. I have seen leaders seek to position themselves so their business will be in synch with the future. The problem is that for many of us the future is as elusive as the nightingale. The courtiers made assumptions — “This must be the nightingale,” they said upon hearing church bells. Leaders likewise make false assumptions. Blockbuster scoffs, “We don’t need Netflix.”

What kind of mindset would leaders need to be able to hear the future that beckons? Here’s an example. During the pandemic, our team at Burgerville, a regional company, observed that national brands were coming into Portland, and selling their products, only to take the profits outside the local community. Our team did not ask a short-term profit question. Instead, we asked, “What can we do to support the local economy?” A local farmer answered that question for us by introducing us to his organic mint farm. We used his mint in a mint chocolate milkshake recipe, which helped the farmer navigate the pandemic, and at the same time secured dedicated product for us, which was not easy to manage during the pandemic.

A recent post from Category Pirates, experts in category design, used a term for this kind of mindset — “radical generosity.” Rather than selling to people to solve the issues the company is facing, you don’t sell, you help. You do this by being curious about their problems, framing possible solutions, and adding value wherever you can.

Our team’s mindset was in line with radical generosity. It is not that the larger brands were wrong in how they operated. Rather, we asked ourselves how we could integrate the needs of the local economy with national brand development so that the whole community would experience abundance and prosperity.

What kind of new mindset would help your company, and your world, thrive?

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