Ever since I started my company Agility Scales, my vision has been pretty clear: organizational change through gamification and new technologies. I had no idea how to achieve this vision, but I knew that the idea made sense. When I hired my first team members, I told them it was like climbing a mountain but not knowing on which side to do that. The destination was clear, but the paths were missing.
Over the last two years, we experimented with many ideas using our Mind Settlers app and website. We tried step-by-step guides, tracks and journeys, marks and value tracking, and Q&As with remote coaches. Each of these paths seemed promising in the beginning, but then we stumbled trying to get enough traction. And each time we had to patch our plans and revisit our tactics. We kept believing in our strategy of monthly subscriptions (in the short term) followed by free and professional programs (later on) because we had plenty of users asking for more.
Patch: A change in tactics without a change in strategy.
Sadly, none of the patches worked. Our key metrics were always disappointing. We kept backtracking along various paths, but we didn’t reach any higher. We knew where to end up, but we couldn’t figure out how to get there. Along the way, we learned many things and explored a vast terrain. However, none of that matters when the terrain doesn’t offer a path to the top.
It’s time to stop patching and start pivoting.
My vision is still the same. I firmly believe that continuous organizational change will require a good amount of gamification, assisted with modern technologies. But my business needs to explore another side of the mountain. I should approach my vision with a different strategy.
Pivot: A change in strategy without a change in vision.
A pivot is a more significant bigger change than a patch. A pivot means throwing out a large portion of your (failing) business model, holding on to everything that you learned, and starting all over with a new perspective in the hope that another side of the mountain offers you better access to the top.
Pivots are very common among startups. And they are very painful. There are probably not many successful scale-ups in the world that didn’t experience one or two pivots along the way, mostly in their early days. That knowledge won’t make it any easier for my team and me to deal with the decisions that we need to take. But we can’t grow as people without acknowledging our failures and learning from them. Agility Scales has failed (so far) in how it has developed and operated its Mind Settlers app and website. There, I said it.
But we’re not dead yet.
On the contrary, in the last few months, I did some explorations on my own on another side of the mountain. And the paths look much more accessible there! We still have plenty of opportunities to find the top. We need a few weeks (maybe months) to regroup as a team, to reorient ourselves, and to plan a new trip up the mountain. I’m sure the views will be spectacular. Stay tuned.