Don't fall prey to Solution Attachment Syndrome

TRC 020: Don't fall prey to Solution Attachment Syndrome

data growth management Oct 12, 2023

Read time: 5 mins

On an entrepreneurial journey, there are often things that can feel like solutions that are actually leading you down a dark path to nowhere (or worse).

We call this "Solution Attachment Syndrome" (SAS).

As founders, our drive often compels us towards what we feel are exciting, big ideas, but they can come with big opportunity costs.

So, what is SAS and how can you spot it? Even more importantly, how can you stop it from happening.


Understanding Solution Attachment Syndrome:

SAS arises when startup founders become overwhelmingly attached to a single solution, believing it's the panacea for all their business challenges.

This might be an unprecedented hire, an ambitious marketing venture, a promising partnership, or any perceived "game-changer."

However, focusing intensely on this 'magic bullet' might lead to neglecting other foundational aspects of the business, much like placing an all-in bet without assessing the odds.


Recognizing the Signs of SAS:

  1. Tunnel Vision: An overwhelming focus on one part of the business, often sidelining others.
  2. Feedback Resistance: A growing defensiveness when the chosen solution is challenged.
  3. High Stakes Betting: Risking the company's trajectory, capital, resources based largely on a single decision.
  4. Overlooking the Incremental: Missing out on small, yet significant data-driven wins.


The Significance of Data:

  • Why Data Matters: Data grants us an objective lens, helping to validate or debunk our assumptions. It replaces gut feelings with tangible insights, ensuring we aren't veering into the shadows of SAS.
  • Decision-making Reinvented: With data-driven insights, choices are more informed. When our steps are anchored in data, we're better positioned for success.
  • Testing and Learning: Harnessing data lets us A/B test strategies, evaluate their impact, learn, and optimize. This creates a cycle of perpetual improvement, turning our startups into adaptive powerhouses.


Your Shield Against SAS:

  1. Strategise with Data: Rather than banking everything on one approach, let data identify diverse growth avenues. This balanced approach mitigates risk.
  2. Periodic Reviews: Revisit and assess your strategies using data metrics. If outcomes diverge from expectations, be agile and pivot.
  3. External Insights: Engage industry peers or data experts to review your strategies. Fresh eyes can spot patterns or insights previously missed. It can be harder to see the mountain path when your nose is pressed against the rock.
  4. Rejoice in Data Wins: Cherish and celebrate milestones achieved through data-driven initiatives. These build the momentum for holistic success.
  5. Stay Updated: Continue to explore new processes and tools for getting at data driven insights. Understanding data more deeply means more robust, well-informed decision-making.


Passion might be the spark that ignites the entrepreneurial flame, but data is the torch that illuminates the startup path.

By understanding and countering Solution Attachment Syndrome with data, we're setting the stage for a balanced, informed, and resilient journey towards success.

Never get too attached to that one idea.

Strong opinions, loosely held is the way to go.


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