You've Got to Get Your Mind Around It! Rare Moments of Great Clarity…

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OpenView Labs spends all of its time trying to figure out the best business growth strategies, sales and marketing support strategies, and company development strategies for our expansion stage companies. We are constantly trying to push the envelope into finding or developing the next great practice that could help our portfolio companies or helping one of our portfolio companies execute a practice via an initiative.

One of the ongoing feedback points that our team hears from me is “You’ve got to get your mind around it” when a team is working on an initiative. I experienced the idea while I was at McKinsey & Company 20 years ago…I believe that my first Engagement Manager said it to me (over and over and over) until I finally figured out what it meant (by truly getting my mind around something and having an “aha” moment).

Here is the idea in a nutshell. Most activities/projects/initiatives could be approached in a straightforward activities-based manner without a lot of thought. A team could look really organized, structure the work, do the work, synthesize the work and get to an answer that they could defend (generally, they actually defend a process that they used and that they executed a process correctly).

This approach results in an answer, and the answer is generally okay, but in most cases there is a gap between the outcome the team gets and the outcome that would have the most impact. 

In my view the outcome that has the most impact is when the individual and/or team that is executing the project truly gets their minds around the problem at hand, really pushes to try to examine the problem domain, and then really gets to an answer that is (generally) utterly simple but clearly the right answer to the team.

In my experience no one has any idea what “you’ve got to get your mind around it” until they have actually done some work where they actually have gotten their mind around it. I find that when this happens, the person “gets it” with an “aha” moment and once they “get it” they strive to have that experience again.

They are rare moments of great clarity!