“What can I do?”

… is the question you’ve been waiting to be asked, and it deserves your full attention. Who’s asking? What are they doing now? What can they do? What could they do? (Should you tell them? Should you ask them to tell you?) What else will it take from you to make it happen? Un-busy yourself, spend some time thinking about…

Customer hierarchy (2)

It’s well accepted that great organisations focus on delighting their customers. But we talk less about managing the sometimes conflicting needs of multiple customers (see yesterday’s post). A good way to manage this tension is to draw up a customer hierarchy for your team: when we need to compromise between competing customers, who do we delight? Here’s what it looks…

Customer hierarchy (1)

It’s good to keep your products – and I include services as part of product – as focused as possible on the needs of your customers. One catch is that you are almost certainly serving multiple costumers: The people you hope to impact with your product End users of your product The people choosing and buying your product Any other…

A long queue

A long queue for what you’re selling is a good problem to have. It means people want what you have, and are willing to pay the price you’re asking and pay the additional time it takes them to queue to get it. It means that what you’re selling is scarce – you might even have a monopoly. The question is,…

Specs, laws and floors

A spec sets standards and defines output, and laws set the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. They are indispensable, but here’s the thing: specs and laws are always floors. You can’t legislate the maximum. There is always an extra mile. There are unlimited extra miles in just about every direction. Once we’re meeting spec (within the law) and doing it consistently…

The switch (1)

“Who is this for?” Your work is always for you. This is true whether we’re working for pay or we’re parenting, whether we’re working on something that’s very obviously for ourselves or giving up time, energy and money to serve others. Even at our best (most generous, most sacrificial) – perhaps especially at our best – we’re working for ourselves.…

Charles Koch on creating value for others and always getting better

The starting point is to understand what capabilities you have that others will value, that you can use to create value for others. And then to find the opportunities for those capabilities that will create the most opportunity for others and particularly those who will reward you for that value. So the ideal for business is to maximise the value…

Good jobs for smart people

“Seek out and develop talent.” “Hire the best people.” “Recruit people smarter than you.” “Raise the average.” Good advice from some of the best business thinkers out there – although Michael E. Gerber has pointed out that basing your business model on highly talented people is going to make it harder and more expensive to run (rocket-scientists and brain-surgeons are…

Seth Godin on fear and reassurance

The way [of handling fear] that doesn’t work is reassurance. Reassurance doesn’t work because you need an infinite amount of it. Someone can give you reassurance for five minutes and then ten minutes later you go “Ooohh no no no.” So the number of times that you need to be told by someone you trust and respect that you’re going…

Finishing lines (2)

Recognising the possibility – or rather, the inevitability – of the death of your project will focus your mind: Given that we can’t do anything in the time available, what’s most important? Will people miss us when we’re gone? Will your project’s main legacy be something physical you’ll leave behind, or an idea or value, or a change in people?…