Friends since childhood, co-founders Nate Garvis and Tom Wiese decided to take a short stroll while vacationing with their wives in the summer of 2010. As friends do, they discussed their ups and downs, how their friends were doing and then they posed a question that changed the trajectory of their lives:
Why are so many of our successful friends stressed out and unhappy?
Having worked with leaders from nearly every sector, they were hard-pressed to think of anyone who hadn’t expressed dissatisfaction over the past few years. That first question led them to more questions, and as they went deeper into the mountains, Nate and Tom continued to brainstorm possibilities. Five hours later, they had a revelation:
The common thread linking stressed-out leaders today isn’t just the magnitude of change; it’s the speed and acceleration of change, along with the significant ambiguity that goes with it.
They then asked themselves who does well with change and ambiguity, and came up with this answer: successful entrepreneurs and explorers. They are comfortable navigating unknown territories, pivoting around unforeseen obstacles and iterating toward their desires. Entrepreneurs and explorers don’t spend their days planning for perfection; they get into action, learn and build by iteration.
Nate and Tom knew that if they could provide leaders with the tools of entrepreneurship and exploration in an environment that encourages people to break out of their insular circles, they could help their successful friends who were stuck. They would later call this practice Exploratory Leadership. With a joint desire to guide leaders in a studio of diverse individuals, Nate and Tom came up with the idea of creating an open and diverse learning community.
That day, Nate and Tom descended the summit and decided to launch Studio/E: Great Minds Navigating Change.