Nate Garvis of Studio/E on Navigating the Unknown

photo of nate garvis and a microphone

Episode 28 of The Founders’ Mentality featuring Nate Garvis of Studio/E. Nate is co-founder with Tom Wiese. Studio/E provides Exploratory Leadership Programs for leaders and organizations to create a more prosperous future.of the organization. From the website, “Exploratory Leadership is the art of motivating people, including yourself, to effectively travel into the unknown to discover more possibility.”

On the show, Josh asks Nate to share a few of his secrets from the Studio.

Nate and his team have brought so many leaders from awesome organizations such as Target, Caring Bridge, Allina Health, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts we were curious to know—what is it like to experience exploratory leadership?

Nate shared a few things with us on the show from his many years of guiding leaders through his workshops at Studio/E.

Nate Garvis of Studio/E on The Founders’ Mentality

  • 01:40 – Meet Nate Garvis & Studio/E
  • 05:16.67 – Leverage Expectations to Create Community
  • 08:00.90 – Win-Win, Win through Overlapping Purpose
  • 09:37.85 – Recognize: The Organization and The Organism
  • 10:52.68 – Great Leaders Say No
  • 12:01.36 – Purpose is a Great Filter
  • 14:18.35 – Co-Founder Chemistry
  • 20:47.35 – Founders Can’t Not Do It
  • 23:11.67 – Plans Are Always Changing
  • 27:27.59 – Titles: Great Locators but Limiters
  • 29:50.37 – Getting Beyond Insularity
  • 32:58.34 – How Uncomfortable Becomes Comfortable

Nate shared with us some awesome advice and a few anecdotes to help look at things differently. He really wants people who join him at Studio/E to develop the skills necessary to navigate and then become comfortable with uncertainty.

Even as entrepreneurs navigating uncertain circumstances we can get comfortable. For Josh, his routine was getting a little heavy when a close friend reached out to him and demanded that he get away from it for a little while.

The escape was a cabin trip, a very generous offer but it had a catch for Josh. A weekend of healthy living, HIIT workouts, and a bath in a frozen lake as a kicker.

Josh accepted the challenge with dread but as he said, “That was probably the first weekend in two years I let go of stress.”

As Josh shares this, Nate lit up. He said, “The human brain is remarkably plastic. What is uncomfortable becomes comfortable through practice.”

There’s a duality that leaders need to accept if they want to be great. That is, you must recognize the organization and the organism.

Often we hear that success in the organization means crushing your routine. Getting more efficient and producing more results with less investment. It’s critically important.

However, there is another side leaders must get comfortable with. As Nate says, “The outfit is a duality. There is the organization, containing the necessary bureaucracy to ship and operating on compliance. Then there’s the organism. It’s full of first names and talent, not just titles. It operates on trust. Great leaders see both. Great leaders create trust.”

For many, creating trust isn’t comfortable work. Management is all about measuring and accountability. Managers manage the known. Leaders manage the unknown.

That’s why at Studio/E they practice.

A photo of a workshop from

“The uncomfortable becomes comfortable through practice. It actually happens really rapidly, we don’t give ourselves enough credit for it,” says Nate.

Better to get that practice in at a somewhat controlled studio than in-front of senior leadership or with your employee’s paychecks on the line.

At Studio/E, Nate guides you through programs that are built to support your individual growth and competency through practice. It’s a mix of independent and collaborative work. Studio/E is famous for connecting people together who wouldn’t normally have to collaborate, providing perspective and guidance.

From the Studio/E website, “[You join] a cohort that contains a powerful mix of personalities, experiences, insights, and networks.”

Nate’s advice to leaders is to seek out different perspectives. It’s one of the magical elements of his workshops. You’ll interact with people from all walks of life who are accomplished and want to level up their skills just like you do.

Outside of Studio/E Nate’s advice is the same. “Expose yourself to different sources of information even if you have to plug your nose to do it. This is one of the most critical things that must happen to create more possibility. Get beyond insularity,” says Nate.

Did you enjoy this episode of The Founders’ Mentality? If so, LEAVE US A REVIEW 👉 on iTunes!