How Leadership can Learn to TRUST their teams | Driving Eureka! #25


The feature story this week discusses how Leadership can learn to TRUST their teams when it comes to innovation.

The book segment discusses the importance of absolute conviction when building a culture of innovation.

The Brain Brew Whiskey Academy is about how TRUST in your business plan is driven first and foremost by your product performance.  




How Leadership can learn to
TRUST their teams

After 48 years of innovating and 33 years of consulting - I believe that the ROOT CAUSE of a lack of innovation at most companies is the lack of TRUST that leaders have in the ability of their teams to innovate successfully. 

This lack of trust sets off a chain reaction of bad behaviors…

  • Because they don’t trust their teams can execute big ideas - leadership sets small goals.
  • Setting small goals for innovation results in changes without the WOW factor needed to be successful.
  • When senior leaders see that they are failing on what seem like easy ideas - they lose more confidence.
  • Eventually - a “guru” is brought in to create big ideas - with fancy design ideas & marketing smoke.
  • Not being connected to the reality of how to actually develop and deliver - the ideas soon fail.
  • Management - having failed with little ideas & guru ideas - gives up - and resorts to using cost cutting to drive growth.
  • This strategy works for a short time - but soon sees diminishing returns.
  • Leadership is replaced and the cycle repeats.

And it all started because the Leader didn’t TRUST in the ability of the company teams to innovate.


The people can innovate.
The people have big ideas.
The people can turn those big ideas into reality.

They just need support and structures to help them focus their energy more successfully. 

Under the leadership of CEO, Maggie Nichols the Eureka! Ranch team is using Eureka! Inventing projects to help leaders build TRUST in their teams. The Ranch experts - work side by side with employees. They show by doing - teaching, inventing and driving out risk though rapid quantitative research.  

With this success - leadership sees a pathway to winning with innovation. Leadership sets project missions that are more challenging - and that deliver higher sales and profits.

To make the process sustainable - the Ranch team provides Innovation Engineering courses and software tools. Soon a new mindset develops where employees, managers and leadership believe - really believe that they can win with innovation.




Driving Eureka! Book Excerpt
How to Create an Innovation Culture - Lesson 4:
Absolute Conviction

Chapter 13 of the Driving Eureka! Book is about how to create an innovation culture.  Lesson four speaks of how leadership needs to have conviction and trust in the employees and application of a new system driven mindset. The excerpt references an interview I did with Bill Conway, former CEO of Nashua Corporation - and the first Fortune 500 leader to embrace the system thinking of Dr. W. Edwards Deming.

The first impression from Bill is an aura of ABSOLUTE CONVICTION. Even at age 84 his absolute belief was still clear and persuasive. He made it clear to me that absolute belief in the power of system thinking was critical for success. 

He told me “You can’t dip your toe” into the new mindset. You have to jump all in. You must believe that there has to be a better way and that you are not going to stop until you find it and make it work.

Talking with Bill, I got the impression that to him quality is not a task or a job—it’s a religion, and he believes in that religion with his heart and soul. Nothing is more important. Bill told me the story that on one of Dr. Deming’s visits he told him he would miss a morning meeting because of a previously booked appointment. Dr. Deming scolded him “You don’t have anything more important to do.” Bill canceled his meeting.





Brain Brew Whisk(e)y Academy:
Absolute TRUST comes from your Product not Marketing  

Marketing drives your first purchase by a customer. Repeat purchases are driven by your product performance. The first purchase of a customer is rarely profitable on a fully loaded basis. Profitability lies in the repeat purchases.

IMPORTANTLY - Absolute TRUST in your business by you, your team and investors is driven first and foremost by your product performance.

In the world of whiskey -  when customers are excited about your PRODUCT -  they drink it, share it with friends and buy more. 

Alternatively - when customers are excited about your MARKETING (not product) - they buy your product as a souvenir of their tour of your distillery. The result is a ONE AND DONE relationship with your customers.

A survey of bars and restaurants by the American Craft Spirits Association found that poor product quality was a leading barrier to the growth of craft spirits. Sadly, in recent conversations it has become clear that many craft distillers don’t even realize where their quality sits relative to what the customer desires.  

The answer is simple. To win with whiskey or what ever product / service you sell you need to conduct blind, paired comparison testing with potential customers. You need to know if your offering is better, worse or about the same as your competition.   

If you don’t know how to do this - the Eureka! Ranch research team can do the testing for you. They have the world’s largest database of quantitative spirits tests in the world. 

Mint Julep
A Version that tastes as good as you imagined it would!

Mint Julep is a classic cocktail that is made horrifically most of the time. The three most common flaws are: 1) using too much sugar, 2) using the wrong bourbon whiskey, and 3) not muddling with enough force. 


5 Mint Leaves
1 tsp Simple Syrup
2 oz Noble Oak Bourbon
Ice (crushed if you have it)


Step 1: Add 5 mint leaves and the teaspoon of simple syrup to a glass.
Step 2: Muddle these first two ingredients together FIRMLY.
Step 3: Add ice and 2 oz of bourbon to the glass.
Step 4: Stir, garnish with a sprig of mint and enjoy!


The Driving Eureka! Podcast

Our goal is to help you, "find, filter and fast track BIG IDEAS."Driving_Eureka_podcast_image

Come and join us. We will teach how to build a business or innovate in an existing organization using the Driving Eureka! book and a whole series of education programs.



Doug Hall

The Driving Eureka! Newsletter is a compilation of case studies, new techniques, thought provoking insights, an occasional rant, and excerpts from my books 



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