Vantage Blog

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13
Apr
2017

Uncovering your Why

Simon Sinek is one of those thought leaders who has had amazing cut through in the world of business strategy, including recently in relation to millennials in the workforce (if you haven't looked at this video yet, it is worth 15 minutes of your time).


I was therefore keen to see what he had to say when he presented to a packed house at The Growth Faculty forum in Melbourne recently.


Sinek was the morning attraction and for me reinforced much of the value in his 'Start with Why' model (click here for an overview of the model). He also spent a lot of time around leadership. One quote that had real resonance related to how you build and engage your team as a leader.


We are all familiar with the concept of "getting the right people on the bus" and its various variants. He had a different spin to it. As he said, "it’s not about the right people, it’s about the right bus!". And, of course, that's the leader’s role - both in ensuring the bus is 'safe' and 'sound', but also as leader being a great driver!





















The afternoon session was presented by his colleague Peter Docker whose focus was on how do you harness the "Power of Why". That is, how do you uncover your Why? 

This is something that has not always been clear to me, and I have had varying degrees of success in working with clients on this very issue. It is, in part, an iterative process. A process that Sinek identified as being about the origin of the business and why it exists. For some companies this may or may not still be relevant. 

Docker outlined 4 steps to help with the Why discovery process; less scientific, more reductive:
  1. Identify the Human Connection. To do that ask your team to identify specific stories about the organisation when it is at its best, when it makes them feel proud. Not about $ and cents per se - but what you have given, less so received.
  2. Isolate the Contribution - in those stories what was the specific contribution the organisations made in the lives of others. Collate and cluster these stories into themes - describe them as verbs, not nouns.
  3. Find the Impact - determine what that contribution enabled others to go on to do, or to be. How were their lives different because of this contribution - however small or large it may be.
  4. You can then start to draft potential WHY statements. A simple structure for a WHY statement is: To (what your organisation does - its contribution) so that (the effect you want to have in the world - the impact)


From there you will have some clarity on your WHY. You can iterate or road test to ensure it has resonance and, of course, relevance to who you are, and what you want to be as an organisation.


During the day, I sat next to a leader from one of the big 4 banks. She told me an amazing WHY story. It related to a client who had superannuation with them and had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. The client rang the personal banker to inquire about their insurance only to find that the super account didn't include appropriate cover. Rather than leaving it at that the bank manager took it upon herself to look for so called 'lost' super with other organisations. Subsequently she identified one super account that did include insurance cover that would be of real value to her client. No direct value to the bank. Not an additional product sold. But a true human connection and contribution that would have real impact and benefit for that customer. Inspirational! 


You can see how that story would be a strong foundation around which to build the bank's WHY. A WHY in action - helping their clients have a secure, stronger financial foundation that supports them throughout their life - no matter what it throws at them. 

A day well spent - equal doses of inspiration and practical application!

by James Atkins, Vantage Strategy & Marketing
This article is linked to James' Google+ profile

Simon Sinek is one of those thought leaders who has had amazing cut through in the world of business strategy, including recently in relation to millennials in the workforce (if you haven't looked at this video yet, it is worth 15 minutes of your time). ..

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10
Jun
2016

STRATEGY IS ALL ABOUT CHOICE – 5 QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU MAKE THOSE CHOICES

Strategy is the most overused word in business. It is often applied in describing tactics, less so in making clear how a business intends to grow in its market.


I recently re-read “Playing to Win – how strategy really works” by A.G. Lafley (ex CEO of Proctor & Gamble) and Roger L. Martin (Academic and Strategy Consultant). Lafley and Martin have a long standing relationship working on strategy at P&G. Built off the strategic thinking of Michael Porter they paint a compelling picture of how they made strategy come alive and deliver real growth for P&G.

At a high level they describe strategy as the need to win; and to win you need to make clear choices across five key areas – a strategic choice cascade:

  1. What is our winning aspiration?
  2. Where will we play?
  3. How will we win?
  4. What capabilities must be in place?
  5. What management systems are required?

In their framework, your strategy is the choices you make across these five questions; and the core is in the answers to question 2 and 3 – the where and the how. It is also a highly iterative process with continual loop back and refinement.





 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The book almost solely uses their experience at P&G which, on the face of it, has been very successful in driving profit and growth well above market over the first decade of this century. The hard metrics outlined in the appendix certainly back this up. 

I wondered though how it would apply outside of P&G. Over the last six months we have used these ‘strategy choice’ questions with several clients – both in the development of strategy, but also as a challenge to their current strategic thinking. It has worked well wherever I have applied it (B2B, services and retail markets for instance) because it has forced people to decide what they do and, importantly, what they don’t do. 

In addition to the choices framework, the authors outline a number of valuable approaches in thinking about the where and how options – because there is obviously more than one set of strategic choices that can win. They have what they call a strategy logic flow. This flow enables you to understand across four dimensions (industry, customers, relative position and competition) the context, challenges and opportunities to help you develop strategic options to debate and analyse.

In analysing different strategic “where to play” and “how to win” options they take a reverse engineering approach. Rather than setting up participants to advocate from their point of view they pose a question against each scenario: what would have to be true across each of the strategy logic flow elements for us to pursue this possibility? This enables even the most ardent sceptic to engage and sets the bar as to what is critical for success. From that point, you can decide the most important factors and start to undertake a deeper analysis of those aspects that will determine what is truly worth pursuing. This reverse engineering approach not only does away a with a lot of the angst in what I would call strategic advocacy by individuals, it also enables you to not spend wasted time up front overanalyzing; you only focus on those aspects you really need to know to make strategic choices.

So despite its P&G focus there are a number of elements in Martin and Lafley’s approach that can be of real value in developing strategy. It forces you to focus on making the critical choices to define “winning” for your business. Well worth a read but also as a framework or challenge to your next strategic planning session. 

if you would like to discuss how you could use this in your business please contact me by clicking here.

by James Atkins, Vantage Strategy & Marketing


This article is linked to James' Google+ profile 






Strategy is the most overused word in business. It is often applied in describing tactics, less so in making clear how a business intends to grow in its market. ..

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25
Jul
2014

What Value is There in a Value Proposition?

Lots if you get it right. Unfortunately many don't! A lot of value propositions contain little of the value they aim to deliver.

Why? Because they are created from the inside out. That is they are all about what businesses think their customers want, rather than what their customers actually need. They focus on what you want to sell, rather than starting with the customers’ problems or needs that you are uniquely able to address.



So what exactly is a value proposition? It is the sum of what you deliver (the attributes of your offer), how you are perceived (your image) and the relationship you have been able to develop. It's how it all comes together in a coherent and consistent way.

Put simply, it is how you deliver value to your customers.

I use a value proposition wheel to try and tease out all the elements. Attempting to be clear on these factors goes a long way towards having a coherent and compelling value proposition.















Take Boost Juice as an example. They have a crystal clear view of their value proposition and, if you were to try and deconstruct it, it would look something like this.















The key is making it clear and concise. But also easy to understand and be applied across the organisation.

Critically, however, it needs to be grounded in your competitive advantage – what makes you different. For Boost it is around the “Boost Experience” and the essence that runs through everything they do...“Love Life”.

What does your value proposition wheel look like? Have a go at filling it in and seeing where there are gaps or inconsistencies.

In developing or refining your value proposition you need to be really clear on what problems you are solving or needs you are meeting. This is where the real value to your customers should emerge.

A simple exercise to do that is the product surround model.
















In every product or service there is a core product, the substance. As a rule of thumb the core is normally about 80% of the cost but provides only 20% of the impact.

It is the product surround, usually 20% of the cost, which contributes up to 80% of the customer impact.

A great example of a business that reinvented not only its offering, but the category, is a BRW Fast 100 winner Jetts.

















The approach they took was to think through what the customer problems and issues were with how traditional gyms provided services to the market.

Customer Problem: Jetts Offer:
“Don’t like being tied in for years” No Contracts
“Too expensive“ Weekly Fees
“Too crowded “ No Classes
“Not open when I want it” Open 24/7

So in reviewing your value proposition think about the following questions:
• Can you define what is core and what is surround for each of your current offerings?
• Can you list the key problems and needs for your target market?
• What could you build, refine or deliver better via your value proposition to solve those problems and needs?

A simple exercise that may well help you define and deliver real value in your value proposition. 

Click here to watch our free 30 minute webinar on Value Propositions.


by James Atkins, Vantage Strategy & Marketing.
This article is linked to James' Google+ profile



Lots if you get it right. Unfortunately many don't! A lot of value propositions contain little of the value they aim to deliver.

Why? Because they are created from the inside out. That is they are all about what businesses think their customers want, rather than what their customers actually need. They focus on what you want to sell, rather than starting with the customers’ problems or needs that you are uniquely able to address. ..


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