• This quote is from a book of lessons in how to lead your team
• The same principles are used in customer strategy processes and form the basis of a Value Proposition Canvas
• This canvas can also be applied to ensuring your leadership is the right fit for your team
I recently finished reading Captain Michael Abrashoff’s It’s Your Ship for the second time. The first time I read it was at the end of a fraught role that had led me away from what I knew to be my core value set. The second time was after a year spent rediscovering these values through the UQ MBA Program. On the program, I took every opportunity available to validate the benefits of my personal adherence to them.
In reading through the way Abrashoff went about understanding how to make his ship the “Best Damn Ship in the Navy” I saw that he too was validating his hypothesis about what a good leader looked like for the USS Benfold. Bells began to ring for me, Abrashoff was talking of reviewing surveys, of holding one-on-one interviews. Hadn’t I seen this process elsewhere?
Customer strategy has moved a long way in the past ten years. Organisations seek to better connect the activities being carried out back to a more defined end customer. A component of this increased customer intimacy is that organisations have a richer array of data, an increased focus on placing the customer within a context of their jobs to be done, and new frameworks through which to structure this information for analysis in the hope of insight. Alex Osterwalder’s Value Proposition Canvas is my personal favourite of these frameworks.
This canvas sprung to mind when exploring Abrashoff’s approach.
In seeing the correlation, I tried putting together the canvas you see above from the information in the book. The products and services are replaced with the words and actions that Abrashoff hypothesised would work to address the pains and gains he discovered in his crew’s jobs to be done. The concept of the internal customer is one that has fallen somewhat to the wayside in recent years. However, this canvas clearly shows that customer strategy can have relevance for your team. Rather than seeking Market Fit, the focus is what I’ll term:
Leadership is not a one size fits all. What is needed from a successful leader varies from organisation to organisation, and from situation to situation. It is this complexity that results in even the best leaders taking a misstep through not adjusting their style fast enough to a change in context. Alternatively, a leader may be derailed in a new role through misunderstanding the variance in context of their prior success in comparison to that of the role they have been recruited for. Much like in customer strategy, a team member’s jobs to be done are neither homogenous or static, demanding an ongoing commitment to team discovery.
So I challenge you to use the Value Proposition Canvas to frame an ongoing conversation with your team, it may be that you uncover a Leadership Fit that you have been missing. If nothing else it will be an opportunity to deepen your understanding of your teams frame of reference.
At Effigy Consulting we wouldn’t suggest you try something we wouldn’t attempt ourselves so next month I’ll share with you the outcomes of our use of the canvas to unpack what our business demands from our leadership.