Diana Kander is a New York Times Bestselling Author, an entrepreneur, and keynote speaker. Barry O’Reilly likes to reference her Ted Talk and $1 experiment in many of his videos. Diana has spent her career challenging assumptions and asking thought-provoking questions. Barry welcomes her to this week’s show as they discuss tips and tricks that lead to innovation.

The Road to Innovation

Her parents’ ability to essentially create something from nothing fed Diana’s urge to get into entrepreneurship and innovation. Her immigrant parents had to work hard to provide for the family. Through their hard work, they were able to build their own business. [Listen from 3:35]


New Mindset, New Growth

One of Diana’s biggest unlearning experiences happened while starting up her own business. She gives an anecdote of her interaction with a high growth program leader. She talks about having to change her mindset and approach to business due to that interaction and how it grew her company 1000% in one year! Barry adds that breaking free of existing behaviors within that frame and thinking big but starting small can help a business grow. [Listen from 8:30]

Saying No and Letting Go

“Good strategy means you say no, even to customers you know,” Barry says. Customers you go after are the customers you will get, Diana emphasizes. Sales from larger companies will take longer to get, but the return is worth it. She says that you should say no to companies that can prevent you from going after the kind of business you really want. She cites her experience of letting go 90% of her own customers so she could have more growth and profitability. Barry iterates that being serious about your business growth means sometimes letting go of existing customers. [Listen from 11:15]

Quality Decision-Making

Making decisions on a 1 to 10 scale allows you to make higher quality decisions. Diana says that many people are misguided on how to say yes to things because they think about decisions as a yes or no binary, rather than on a scale of one to ten. In the business decision-making process, it’s important to have people around you who can help you find ways to work through hard decisions. [Listen from 19:15]

Pivot Indicators

Diana calls the things we monitor to inform our decisions, ‘pivot indicators.’ There should be systems in place – such as a decision-making rubric – that monitor the outcomes of our decisions and help people make progress in uncertain situations. Diana says that your decision-making rubric is a living document that will evolve as you do new things and experience what works. She adds that she has a decision diary for when she’s making tough decisions, with a checklist for those decisions. “50% of decisions are probably wrong because you have limited information,” Diana expresses. [Listen from 25:40]

Looking Ahead

Diana is currently focused on leading people through innovation, creating an environment that helps them get through an innovation project, and big transformation within a company. Diana’s tips to managers are to create pivot points within their work environment, give employees their space to do their tasks, and trust their employees to achieve the business’ desired outcomes. [Listen from 30:50]

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