Facing uncertainty can be challenging – being a business owner facing uncertainty is tougher.
Red Direction helps you [fast track and] grow your business – authentically, pragmatically, and resiliently.
Starting the conversation:
In addition to improving internal processes and being more efficient, it is important to develop yourself so you can continue to lead through times of rapid change. Being able to lean into successes, work within a customized framework, and utilize an internal cadence allows for the head space necessary to respond to immediate threats and opportunities. This is necessary to stay on course and aligned to your true north.
Host: Jess Dewell
Guests: Jay Haynes, Dr. Kelly Henry, Luke Layman
What You Will Hear:
What you are excited about, what you prioritize, is what your teams will follow. The intersection of what your company can be the best at, while staying true to the mission … this is where value can be added to all stakeholders. Building on past wins and saying no to ideas outside of the current strategic initiatives brings the opportunity for greater achievement. Jess Dewell welcomes Luke Layman, CEO Vector Solutions; Dr. Kelly Henry, Customer Service Business Consultant; and Jay Hanes, Founder & CEO thrv.com, to discuss staying adaptable to the challenges of day-to-day while being focused on the longer-term business strategy.
Work from where you already have had success to keep building competitive advantage.
Work with a customized framework for the way you do work together consistently.
Create a cadence for the jobs to be done and focus on one initiative at a time.
Take the time needed, which may be more than we think, to talk about our customer internally using the same language to better solve their problems.
The inside work is what we use to measure ourselves and the quality of how we show up.
Comfortable is the antithesis of a growing and thriving company.
Emotions and feelings must be recognized so we can better stay curious about what our data really tells us.
The framework we choose is what can use to stay on course and headed in the right direction.
Questions to use to stay focused and move forward with your strategic plan.
It is BOLD to prioritize one initiative at a time.
Notable and Quotable:
Kelly Henry 00:00
Customer Service should be more than idea. It should be a core principle, it should be a mission in our business,
Jay Hanes 00:07
what companies invest in their product strategy. And their roadmap is an enormously big number. And it’s very, very hard to tell if we make this investment over these next 1224 or 36 months, is that going to turn into revenue growth,
Luke Layman 00:21
I make decisions that are 90%, correct, with 80% of the information, and that’s all I’m ever going for.
Welcome. This is the Bold Business Podcast. Your Business has many directions it can travel, the one true direction of your company creates the journey for you to move toward a new, exciting level. We call this the Red Direction. In today’s program, we delve into one idea. The idea will support you as you work on ever-present situations, including how to stay competitive in a changing market, how to break through the business plateau, and how to anticipate the changing expectations of your stakeholders. Jess Dewell is your guide, Jess brings you a 20-year track record of Business Excellence, where strategy and operations overlap. Your Path comes from consistently working from this special place, your unique true north. Now, here’s Jess.
Jess Dewell 01:30
Growth from the inside matters more than ever before. Not only do we have interruption and disruption, not only do we know, and every single listener out there has experienced some sort of rapid change that impact their organization. The market demands that our companies, the companies that we are leading and stepping up into have a true north that not only leverage the strengths from inside, but also put the customer at the center. They are companies that are delivering products and services that help the customer do their job better, easier. And they’re companies that are instilling ways to be creative ways to problem solve and ways to innovate at every turn. So what you’re going to take away from this episode today is that there are key elements that we must have to maintain competitive advantage, because and even utilizing what we’ve already had some success at working with a framework and the solutions and ideas that are coming to the table in this program just for you to build to create to customize one that works just for your company, and working and focusing on that internal cadence, that reflection, that forward-looking ness, and the ability to focus in on a single large initiative at a time.
Jess Dewell 03:07
So let’s jump right in. Let’s hear Luke Lehmann is the CEO of vector solutions. He is a decorated fighter pilot, serial entrepreneur and investor. He’s also a transformation coach. And his entrepreneurial accelerator framework is the method with which he applies not only into his own businesses but those that he invests in.
Luke Layman 03:30
The secret is there is no secret. The secret is the attorney, there is no time, there is only the present, there is no past and there is no future. And there’s some other really deep concepts about what your brain does with perceptions of the past and what you can dream into and how we create a frame of reality and ourselves.
Jess Dewell 03:51
And I’d like to introduce you now to Dr. Kelly Henry, who has helped his patients live their healthier lives, owning a multi-site chiropractic office, he is focused on exceptional customer service. Not only did Dr. Henry grow his award-winning clinics into one of the Top Producing chiropractic offices in the nation, he has since 2018 also used his same systematic approach to work with other business leaders in service-based companies to improve their customer service.
Kelly Henry 04:23
When you are proactive growth instead of reactive. Typically when we’re reactive. That means we’re more emotional when emotion is high. logic is low, and we tend to not make the best decisions. And sometimes we do and sometimes you’re forced to emotions to make better decisions. But if you understand growth and how growth is ultimately going to help you become a better business, grow profits prosper, help your clients in a better manner and you’re proactive about it and you have a mission to do that then you can make better decisions for We forward to what processes, what pieces, what things that you’re actually going to integrate into your growth and elicit the change that you need.
Jess Dewell 05:11
These are incredibly important because we’re talking about high-level concepts. We’re talking about the day-to-day operational pieces. And let’s add a little more context here, back to Luke.
Luke Layman 05:24
Life leaves a trail for you. And it gives you everything that you need, at the time that you need it. So when you talk about what did I do, how was I being what was I showing up as for that portion of the business stage, a lot of it was following the breadcrumbs or what for today’s sake, we’ll just call it the peanut trail, it gave you just enough to follow those things. First and foremost, the largest individual transformation that I have ever had. And I believe that most entrepreneurs experience is the awareness of the word, blind spot, once you realize, and just become aware of the word without even asking what the blind spot is yet, but just ask yourself, What do I not know today, that would benefit me tomorrow? And when you can get curious about that question, it’ll fall into place, you’ll get the pieces that you need.
Jess Dewell 06:15
It is a known fact, especially to those who are regular listeners of the Bold Business Podcast, that companies do not talk enough about strategy, nor do they engage with that strategy enough, less than an hour a month across a leadership team is typically what a company gets when it comes to its strategy. It is the quietest wheel yet requires the most attention. And here’s the thing, I want to introduce you now to Jay, who’s talking about the fact that because we’re not talking about it, we tend to not be able to say it simply, and he’s talking about how important it is to say things simply Jay Haines is the founder and CEO of thrive, calm, the first and only jobs to be done jtbd software for product marketing and sales teams. He’s an award-winning executive with three decades of jobs to be done innovation.
Jay Hanes 07:09
And the way that we think about it, having consensus and building agreement on a product strategy and your product roadmap because ultimately, that drives your growth. So how do you do that? What companies can front that they don’t have a consistent language to talk about their product strategy, their product roadmap, but most importantly, they don’t have a language to communicate consistently and easily about their customers. Because at the end of the day, everything we do, as companies, especially on product marketing, or sales teams is create value for our customers,
Jess Dewell 07:45
creating value for our customers. That is an incredibly important part of the requirements that our markets today, demand of us and our companies. So what we focus on, followed by how we get sure to the end, how we get to the end and complete those initiatives, those are so important to drive success, have success to continue to hone your competitive advantage.
Kelly Henry 08:23
Just what you choose to focus on, just have to be good at that my mission was always to focus on the patient first, and then the rest would take care of itself. That’s one of the things I’ve learned about change, too, and making changes, I preferred little changes moving forward. Okay, this needs to be done. Let’s, let’s do this. There was times early on in my career where I let things go, right? No, I should have changed, I didn’t. And then boom, I had a big change ahead of me that was going to be a lot more time-consuming a lot more emotional, be tough on my staff, tough on the patience, all those things. So I finally learned that, okay, let’s just do the little steps. Let’s make the little changes all along. So we don’t have these giant glaring changes that are going to take a lot of space in my mind about the space in my Please mind. By having a little changes on regular basis, it saves a lot of trouble and not have to face those changes that could come along because we failed to make the little changes.
Jess Dewell 09:22
So consistent action catches those little changes along the way to prevent big obstacles and issues from rearing their heads down the road. You know, there’s an article that I read recently in the Harvard Business Review called How long can a company thrive doing just one thing? It’s by Andy Wu and Scott Duke co miners. The main idea of this article was really a question Can incremental value offered beat out the convenience of an inferior product That is bundled with other software. Now, here’s the thing, software, service product, all of those things can be interchangeable here. And that’s what matters. We have so many products out there that are best of breed, focusing on one thing and doing one thing really well, slack zoom, the man who drives the caster truck down the street, and only provides casters to companies, right doesn’t matter, there’s this best of breed. And there is advantage to that. The thing is, there are also people who are selling all kinds of casters all the time, in addition to other things that casters go with the chairs, the machinery, whatever those might be. And so which one do you focus on? Well, that’s part of your true north. That’s at the core of the question, What are you doing? How are you doing it? And can you continue to add value? and Jay has a lot more to say about that.
Jay Hanes 10:59
Most companies just have one, maybe two products that they’re successful with. And a lot of times they don’t even really know why creating consistent innovation, where you really are understanding why the customers are underserved in the market today. Why do they struggle? What are their unmet needs? And how do you create a product strategy and a product roadmap that capitalizes on unmet customer needs. That’s really, really the core of what we do, in order to de risk the investment that companies are making in their product roadmaps. If you added up all the activities and the costs for product teams, development teams, UX, UI, design, marketing, sales, etc. What companies invest in their product strategy, and their roadmap is an enormously big number. And it’s very, very hard to tell if we make this investment over these next 1224 or 36 months, is that going to turn into revenue growth? People forget that BlackBerry’s market cap was four times apples when Apple launched, it seems like Apple wasn’t even a threat to them at all, as blackberry was so huge. I’ve had a lot of blackberries, it was almost inconceivable. And yet they had the wrong product strategy. And they had the wrong product roadmap, what we try and do is help companies avoid those mistakes, and accelerate their growth. By really understanding and being able to communicate and agree as a team on what the customer is struggling with.
Jess Dewell 12:28
Taking time to know the customer taking time to create, as Jay said earlier, language to talk about the customer and how you can add value to help them get done. What they want to get done is a core element of growth from the inside. Some of you were listening, and you’re like no, that’s actually growth from the outside. Because as soon as you start talking about your customers, your from the outside, well, I could have had totally named this episode opposite growth from the outside. And I would have talked about this customer-centricity. And I would have made the point that our internal strengths and the way that we do things, and the work that is being done together is also necessary. I’m a firm believer that both of those things must occur. At the same time, there is a dance between them that helps you create and have already created that success. That secret sauce that allows you to have the competitive advantage you do today. So now it’s what you do with your competitive advantage you already have the successes you already have, the way you choose to level up think strategically think forward five years or so 10 years or so that will make the difference in how successful your company is, how likely your company is going to reach its goals. How realistic the way the work is being done is truly the glue with which innovation and creativity and creative problem solving can come into play.
Kelly Henry 13:58
The mission statement that I have in my office and this goes back to customer service was my office, my staff, we all were focused on being the best part of our patients. Regardless of what changes I had went on how fearful I was how stressed I was. That didn’t matter I need to put that aside, my focus was on let me be the best part of their day. Let me serve them. Let me give them my best. All the rest will take care of itself. But my focus needs to be squarely and solely on each and every day. Each and every interaction that took me a long way that helped me tremendously. Especially in those days. Were just like I scared to death of what I need to move forward with. But let me serve somebody else and focus on somebody else and 20 on that fear went for this. Okay, this isn’t that bad.
Jess Dewell 14:49
We just pause. We lean into what we know we’re doing and we’re doing well. We make that phone call. We reach out to an advisor, a trusted ally. And I think that’s so important because we have to have a way. And by the way, we all have behaviors that indicate to us that we’re off base, that something isn’t quite right, that we veered off course, we no longer have the true north of our company-oriented the way that we want it to be. That could be true for your actions, a team’s actions, a department’s actions, the entire company’s actions, and it’s being able to hear, reflect, see and own it. That is what allows the realignment getting back on path to happen. And we have to own it, you have to own it. When are you in and out of integrity? When are you living the values of your company and when are you not,
Luke Layman 15:46
but I found one time in my career, that I was living without integrity. And I’ll tell you how I knew this thing. I was actually going through a coaching program, that mentor that I just love and still give a bunch of money to when we start talking about the laws of reciprocity, and what the universe gives back to you. And again, doing the right thing at the right time. Here’s two things Guilty as charged. When you’re zippering, you’re pulling up side by side in the lanes, I was always the guy that would tell the story while these guys don’t understand how to zipper and I’m doing the traffic pattern the favor by pulling to the front of the line. And it’s like no, you’re not Luke, you actually know that all those people are also waiting to go to the same place that you are and you’re cheating. And it’s like, oh, that’s unfortunate. And then the second thing that I did busted was I was at Disney World with my daughter, and they have those fast passes, or whatever it is you get that. And I asked my wife, I’m like, why don’t you go scan your band. And then I’ll come back, and I’ll take your band, so I can ride with my daughter again. And it’s like, oh, what you’re saying is you’re gonna circumvent the system so that you can get ahead of the other hundreds of people. And it’s like, Man, you are not living in integrity. And it’s those situations like that, that I had to get real honest with myself to go, That’s cheating. Luke, you know, you got to get clear about that.
You were listening to the Bold Business Podcast, we will return to the show soon. But first, I want to take a moment and give you a peek into what additional services and solutions you could access to Fast Track Your Business. This program was created to develop your capacity on demand by sharing insights tips, as well as lessons learned by business leaders unedited, can uncut. And we don’t just stop there, there are three additional benefits to help you reach your growth goals. You’ll also have unlimited access to one hearing tips and insights to develop yourself as a leader to get better results more often, to experiencing viewpoints from many different business leaders. Three, receiving frameworks to build core competencies and to more effectively focus on business growth and leadership. altogether. The Fast Track Your Business program will allow you to face uncertainty, anytime, anywhere. And you can access what will become your most personal tool in your toolkit by going to Fast Track Your Business today.com. Now, back to Jess.
Jess Dewell 18:08
some of the ideas you’re going to hear next are all about working within a framework. Some of you will use an external framework, some of you will build your own framework, some of you will customize a framework. And the thing is it’s the framework, the way business is done here that allows problem-solving to occur that allows the right automation the right solutions to come up. Because remember, no decision is ever set in stone, it gets us through the moment to stay aligned with our true north and keep providing value. And growing the company the way we have set out in our strategic plan.
Jay Hanes 18:47
These teams, we work with a companies, a lot of times, it’s like they’re playing bad music, your band members, no one’s on the same page, literally on the same page. So they’re playing different notes. And they’re battling. And they’re having these disagreements. And that can just be really motivating. To continue with music metaphor, we really try and make sure everybody’s got a song that they love. And they’re all in the same band playing the same song. And we spent a lot of time getting the definition of the customer and their job to be done correct. Because if you have that good starting point and your team agrees on that, everything else downstream becomes much easier. And it sounds like you’re playing in a band together. And that’s ultimately what we want.
Jess Dewell 19:27
One of the ways that we can make sure we’re communicating better talking the way we want playing in the best band together as Jay was just telling us about is to recognize places that we are comfortable in our own roles and comfortable as a team and as a company so we can get uncomfortable.
Kelly Henry 19:51
Human existence we get comfortable. You know, we like the status quo we like to eat we just don’t like to push so we get in our habits and we stay comfortable. Even Sometimes those habits aren’t exactly the most beneficial for us. My philosophy in business and I learned this from one of my coaches early on is you’re either greening growing or wiping product. And so for me to be comfortable means I’m writing product, which means I’m coasting. And really the only way to coast is downhill. So I need to be brave and growing. Really, the only way to do that is to systematically implement change. It’s just part of the natural process. It causes you to change it forces you to make decisions that forces you to do things more efficiently and to focus on profits and other things that global business. So you’re forced to do that.
Jess Dewell 20:41
One of my favorite podcasts is the Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz. And I have to say he was recently having a conversation with the author of Thinking Fast thinking slow, he wrote a new book that’s going to be coming out about noise, and the fact and the impact that noise in our business in all forms that could exist in make us make less effective decisions make us make slower decisions make us feel pressure to make decisions because we might have too much information. This concept of working with a framework is something that it goes beyond what you hear at the Bold Business Podcast, it goes beyond what you get when you work with me. And we’re creating a cadence and a framework with which work is done in your company. Because ultimately, the commitment that you take, as you know, this is about you and what you do, the commitment that you take to not only put time and effort into making a strategy, but then to talk about it and engage with that strategic plan is what sets you up to be more adaptable, more flexible, and more agile over time to roll with the demands that the market have the issues and the obstacles, that external forces the ROA and we can move through them because we can lean into something that we know has worked, we’re building on our strengths, we’re leaning into those strengths. And we know what our true north is. And you know, what we’re doing over here isn’t the only one. I mean, Luke’s going to share a little bit about the pillars of his entrepreneurial accelerator framework.
Luke Layman 22:19
But the pillars of the entrepreneurial accelerator framework that I use, that works for me, are pliable, I’m not going to be the CEO of all of those companies. It’s very simple. The first pillar is high-performance leadership, there are some components of what continual high performers and any segment at any time, have some core competencies that they always do the same, whether it was flying jets, or being a Navy SEAL or being a professional athlete, those high performers have the same skill sets. And then the other two are persuasion and influence is the first component of that. That is how do you drive fiercely loyal teams, and repeat customers that absolutely are insatiable for your product or service. And then the third is strength, the business strategy and execution.
Jess Dewell 23:04
Whatever your framework will have, they’ll have pillars, they’ll have the three legs of the stool, they’ll have all of these things that are used by you, leading your organization, by you, making sure you’re achieving your goals in your role. And Luke’s right, whatever those are for you, and I’m so glad he shared history, whether it’s history or some other combination of them. So right one cannot exist without the other because when we do something in one spot, it impacts and influences something in another spot. And we can use that framework as our compass. Do we have magnetic north and our true north, that little red point on the compass pointed where we want it to be? I’m thinking about that a little more. Kelly is going to share with us about this from a customer service standpoint.
Kelly Henry 23:55
Statistics show from a customer service standpoint, that customers will actually pay a premium for a great experience with your business. That’s not the reason that you put a culture of customer service and treat your customers well in place. But it’s certainly a great benefit. There’s some money on the front end to put the culture in place. But a great customer service culture is going to enhance every piece of your business, from the sales to the marketing to the retention to increase profits to how your employees interact. You can charge a premium, and it really, for the most part will ensure future success of that business. Increasing Customer service is not an expense. It’s an investment in your business to create, really, you know future profit and growth, but you can do it very quickly.
Jess Dewell 24:48
That’s true, it can happen quickly. Just like cutting expenses can help a company’s revenue quickly.
Jess Dewell 25:01
And so this is where the interplay comes in? Are we cutting expenses in the right place? Do we take our eye off the customer? Are we truly providing value with these internal changes and different questions? What are the blind spots that we haven’t thought of? provided we do this now? Does it change? What could threaten our business externally down the road? How does this impact our market share? And does this make us more of a bundle type of product or service more of a best of breed and doing one thing really well, type of product or service? Those are just a few questions, the list goes on. So if you want some just reach out and say, I want that list of questions to know if I’m on the right track and creating my true north, I’ll get those for you. And so I think it’s important to though that we all missed the mark. Right? We never make decisions right? 100% of the time. So how right we get them? And how on course do we stay as we navigate through that means that Yeah, we failed. But here’s the thing, we don’t have to let it stay a failure, we can learn from it and turn those learnings into moving us more quickly down the journey down the path.
Kelly Henry 26:10
When you look at the failure, the shortcut, you need coming as not a failure. It’s not final, but use it to elicit feedback. Look at what happens. Where do we fall short? What do we do? Where do we need to pivot? How do we need to do things differently? So we can move forward, more intelligent, but really about one of my favorite philosophies, and one of my favorite sayings. And something I live by and flew by for quite a while now is there’s no such thing as failure. There’s only feedback. And so that again, that takes that emotional aspect that Okay, yeah, this didn’t go as planned, what can I learn from it? How can I start over again? How can I move forward more intelligently, and just keep using those as stepping stones instead of stumbling blocks? And when you communicate that to your team, and they understand it, you elicit their communication and their Hey, what do you all think what went wrong? What do you think went wrong? You’re a team, let’s figure this out, understand where we need to go where we need to stay away from those types of things. And then you move forward more intelligent.
Jess Dewell 27:10
So as we’re learning from each experience, whether we failed or succeeded, both, by the way, give us key insight and intelligence to move forward and stay aligned to our strategic plan. And now, it’s really important to pause and say, whatever your framework is, the whole purpose of it is to continuously work toward lining up the key elements of your business.
Luke Layman 27:40
Somebody was trying to sell me on something, it was her specific methodology for the thing that she was trying to say said, Luke, it all works, you know, and I’m like, Okay, what is your, you know, what’s your differences, like, mine is not different. It just works. And in a certain, that’s the thing that I got stuck on. I’m like, oh, it all works. It all works, right? There’s only three components of the business is just sales and marketing operations and finance, sell more stuff, delivered account for it, you know, and then use those components to grow each other. It’s getting those things sequentially correct. So that you can put them in line together. And that’s the real magic, right. So you know, when you talk about a hack, the hack is just straighten that lineup,
Jess Dewell 28:19
I’m all about hacks to and thing is a hack to what Luke was saying can have long term effects provided it’s keeping where we’re going in mind if we’re just trying to get that short term goal, and we want to hack through something just to do that, it can help us in the short term, the result of that, though, learning from that the intelligence from that may or may not help us move toward that longer-term goal, it may or may not help us work better together over time, as Jay talks about how the team plays good music together.
Jay Hanes 28:57
We know teams that really start playing music sound great together, we have seen such success. And this is a new method. So the music metaphor works, right? You do have to learn some theory, you do have to practice it, it doesn’t happen just automatically overnight. Yet, hopefully, we’ll build that in this route tool at some point. So we want to make those hurdles much lower so that teams can start being successful with jobs to be done much faster. That’s what’s exciting to us. Because then, as you’re learning you’re doing and learning and doing or working together to help your team be successful. That’s really exciting to us. We know we have great case studies of extreme success using jobs to be done. And we help target a divisional target, beat Amazon and take leadership back from Amazon. So that’s not a small thing. Amazon’s pretty fierce competitor. And we’ve worked with product teams of huge companies, we’ve worked with CEOs, all of those examples. They went through the jobstreet on process. So if we can make that process faster and easier For teams, then we can help them be successful faster.
Jess Dewell 30:04
And in reality, that’s what we want. So maybe we’re doing product r&d, and we need to call Jay, maybe we have some sort of a service-based product, or we’re in a retail space, or we’re in some sort of manufacturing model, or any of the other kinds of business models out there. In all of those that are still that’s still our goal, what framework can we have to help us be more successful, more consistently, more of the time, successful faster, and we can’t forget about the people element, the messy middle part, the way that we show up to work, the things that are between our own ears, and the things that are between every other set of ears of every other person in our organization. We can, however, be present with ourselves so we can better remember that we’re all on our own journey, journeying together.
Luke Layman 30:59
Here’s what’s interesting about emotions and feelings. Emotions are reactive. And this goes back into the high-performance stuff. I can feel emotions like rage, when someone cuts me off, I can get angry at my daughter, but they’re almost always reactive. The feeling are things that I can be predictive of, and I in my intentionality, and please don’t hear this to say that I’ve mastered this art, right? I just didn’t, I am aware to it, I am present to it. Feelings of rage and anger and frustration and sadness and Ill content. don’t serve me in my business. So feelings are preemptive, I can tell you right now. And as a matter of fact, when I’m walking into a key meeting, I actually stopped to think about the way that I want to feel. And the way that I want to show up, am I going to show up as authoritarian Am I going to show up as a gentle giant Am I going to be passive, and it’s based on reading the room and knowing what specific things that I need to do, you can learn to harness the fact that emotion is reactive, and feelings are preemptive, I can choose the three or four feelings that I want to use. throughout my day, the reactions will come it will happen, I will still get angry. But as I move through that into a way that I want to feel and the way that I want to be it’s a truce, it’s a superweapon in the business world
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Jess Dewell 33:37
We’ve talked about the same part of taking that success that we already have. And going a little deeper with it being reflective of ourselves in the way that we as individuals are making decisions and setting priorities and holding the team accountable to those priorities. And then we’re talking about the framework with which all that work happens, where we can automate and digitize and think about all of the different things that will help us cutting costs, spending smartly, something in a new area. And we’re making those decisions and choices aligned with our strategic plan within a framework of the way we do our work together. It helps us reduce the noise, it helps us cut out what we don’t need. And it helps us notice quicker can it be aligned with what we’ve got going on? Or is it not? And saying no to the things that are not in alignment, at least for right now. Because revisiting good ideas is always on the table. We must plug it into the cadence that we have created in the framework that we have built or customized. thing is how we’re showing up the cadence with which we set is what everybody’s gonna look to. If there’s no cadence and you’re in a role, create a cadence and people will be like, Oh, I get this They’ll talk to you about it and a Morph, and it’ll become something that is doable and useful. You’re working together, you’re working together.
Jay Hanes 35:12
It really is a way for teams to feel that their coordination is going to pay off, and really help them succeed by helping their customers. That’s what I think’s really great. It’s not about people’s egos and pupils, it really is working together as a team. And we joke, it’s not really joking. But that our competitive advantage is that we have no ideas, we literally, it’s not about Jay’s idea, just an idea. It’s about understanding the customer’s problem and their struggles and then figuring out which ideas really do help them overcome those struggles faster and more accurately, ideas are not in short supply. Understanding the details of your customer’s problem that is in short supply, because teams don’t even agree on what a customer’s need is. It’s an interesting exercise we do with teams that will say everybody agrees that what you’re trying to do is satisfy unmet needs better than your competitors, for your customers. And everybody agrees with that. And then we ask, Well, what does the customer need? And importantly, does everybody in your team even agree on the definition of what a customer need is, and without fail 100% of the time, they don’t have a good definition of a customer. And they don’t have team agreement on it. So we work with those fundamental things that make it much easier to be an effective team and as you say, really empathize and not make it about Jay or just his ego and our ideas.
Jess Dewell 36:40
What a great lead in to that third point, which is taking that concept of an internal cadence further, what is that one big initiative, and more importantly, what makes that initiative The most important thing right now, even though we’re simultaneously aligning our actions today, to a year from now in the shorter term, but three years and five years in the longer term, that one thing at a time is going to be incredibly important. And here’s the thing, we have a tool from all of Jim Collins’ research that allows us to think about it. I mean, his hedgehog principle covers three areas, it’s, well, what are you passionate about? What’s your economic engine? And specifically, related to what we’re talking about today? And his hedgehog principle is, what can we be the best in the world at? And those questions that come from that, that conversation about who our customer is? How are we really serving them? Do we agree on all of these things? Most of us, not only do we just glance off the surface, we’re like skipping rocks around this because it takes time. And we need to give that part its time. And we need to then give more time to ensure that we’re talking about it consistently. So that we know where we fit into Jim Collins hedgehog principle, in each of the things, how does it impact our economic engine? Are we doing and staying true to what we’re passionate about? And then where are we getting our growth? Are we truly serving our customers? Are we the best at the world at something whether that’s a best of breed product, or a sweet or a bundle of products.
Jay Hanes 38:20
The method behind what we do is known as jobs to be done instead, and a lot of different ways. It’s also known as jobs theory. But the basic idea behind it is that your customer is actually not buying your product. This is what’s kind of counterintuitive. what they’re actually doing is hiring your product to get a job done. So what does that mean? It’s a deceptively simple idea. But products and solutions and technologies change over time. And in today’s world, they change extremely rapidly. But what’s interesting is what your customer is trying to accomplish does not change over time. So I’ll give you a good concrete example. I’m old enough that I owned eight-track tapes, cassettes, records, CDs, that we all switch to iPods, and now we all use streaming services. Just in my lifetime, we’ve gone through an incredible number of really big technology changes, just to create a mood with music. Now, what’s interesting about that is the job to be done as it’s known of creating a mood with music is exactly the same today as it was 400 years ago when all you can do is hire a string quartet or an orchestra. Or if there was literally no recording devices, the job is exactly the same, and it’s going to be the same 100 years from now. And so that gives a much more stable target for teams to hit. Because ultimately you want to create value for your customers. And without this concept in mind, teams can also really struggle to communicate well and to execute well, and a great example. This isn’t Microsoft They thought there was an opportunity for an iPod copy, they thought there was an iPod market. And Apple had sold 200 million iPods, it’s 150 bucks a piece, that’s $30 billion. So even Microsoft, that seems like a really, really huge market. Of course, the fatal flaw in that is not being able to communicate the unmet needs of the customer. Because there is no need for an iPod, as we’ve all demonstrated because no one uses them anymore, right? There’s a need to create music. And if Microsoft had been in this mindset, they would have avoided launching something that wasn’t doing anything different. I mean, the Zune looked like an iPod. It had a nice touchscreen, it actually had a podcasting feature, ironically, but it didn’t create any additional value for customers because it didn’t do anything different. So when you’re trying to figure out what your product marketing and sales team should be focused on, and how to communicate that with your team in order to grow, that’s why it’s important to have this mindset that you want to help your customer get their job done.
Jess Dewell 41:12
Mindset is everything. If we have a mindset that includes some sort of curiosity, we can find those blind spots, we can stay focused on and remember easily, to put what we’ve got going on in our strategic plan into the day to day conversation into the cadence with which we do business, to reflect to, to look forward to address opportunities and threats, and to make those important decisions. And that hedgehog principle is what are we most passionate about. And Kelly based his entire business on his passion of bringing health, and what that actually meant to his customers, and how that rippled out into serving people in other parts of their lives.
Kelly Henry 41:58
I wanted to be known for my customer service my offices more than once I understood that so that that was the top. Now that being said, from a business standpoint, outside of customer service, when I was growing locations, my initiative was I want to help patients lead healthier lives. And to understand that helps them see health differently. Because health is our first left. So if you’re not healthy, it’s difficult to be a good parent or spouse or employee or anything. So I wanted to communicate that and really have that forefront when you come in and I make you feel liable for that ripples out, you leave my office, you leave my existence, and you pay the necessary pay that forward. But essentially make the world a better place.
Jess Dewell 42:49
When we’re clear. As an organization, where we’re going and what it takes to get there. And the frameworks with which we make decisions, we take chances we decide where to try something new, or engage in some research, because we have most of the elements that we need to understand the upside, what the opportunity is that keeps us going toward our true north, that strengthens our business to be flexible and adaptable in this vastly quickly changing marketplace.
Jay Hanes 43:25
Making sure you identify the upside, which there is a huge opportunity, we should be following these customers to success because there really was a huge opportunity in each of those markets. The second thing is avoiding the failure is just not investing in the wrong things. You know, Steve Jobs does have a lot of great that they didn’t do a ton of stuff. He said no all the time. That’s what jobs you know, helps you do as well is obviously we want to get to yes. And we want to start building a product strategy that’s going to lead to success. But you also want to be able to say no, we’re not doing that. No, that’s the prioritize Nope. No one should be working on that. Nope, nope, nope. Because all those decisions add up to investment risk for your company.
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Jess Dewell 44:41
Yes. What you’re saying yes, could take you off track could dilute what you’re trying to do could bring up other opportunities that actually make the way that we interpret the data we’re collecting or the thing that we want to be the best at Or what we’re most passionate about, or the basis of our economic engine to be overlooked. And that’s the thing, we want to do the least in our business, when we’re overlooking the key elements of why we’re doing it, how we’re doing it, and what makes us profitable. And where we see our market going. That’s where we see the way forward. That’s where we don’t need to be a visionary to continue to grow. We don’t need to be visionary, to continue to shift. Those of you who are visionaries, this brings up something else for you, can you hone in and be visionary in the things that you know, you’re good at the decisions that you’re going to make, so that you can have great success or even greater success than ever imagine?
Luke Layman 45:45
One of the things that I talk often about with other CEOs is our belief structure. The stories that we tell ourselves, we talk about, we should on ourselves a lot, you should do this, you should. One of the things that’s interesting about that in our belief structures is that very few things in life are actually true. When viewed in the correct context. If I were to ask you, is gravity real? Just and you would say, yes, of course, gravity is real. I’m standing here, am I not? Am I not floating away? And it’s like, well, just as always real, the thing that you experience always real because if I put you at 52,000 feet, is it real there? What if I put you into orbit, there’s a different perception of what that realness is. But we don’t have to get all hypothetical and five D on it. When we think about our belief structures. Our judgment as entrepreneurs is the most critical to the way that we judge ourselves is more critical than anybody else ever gives us. Nobody’s going to look and go, man, Luke, that’s a 62%, compound annual growth rate that sucks. And it’s like, oh, yeah, my goal was 75, right, or 100. Or I wanted this, and it’s like, oh, I should have done that. I could have done this. And when we can give name to our beliefs, my wife and I, Jenny, and I tell say it all the time. Like that’s a story. That’s a story. That’s a story. That’s a story, the thing that you’re telling yourself is not rooted. In fact, it’s your perception surrounding an event in your life that has no meaning, other than the meaning that you’ve given to it.
Jess Dewell 47:19
That recognition is key, key two-dimensional leadership key to growing from the inside out key to being the leader that you need to be during chaos and uncertainty key to stirring the pot when things seem to be a little too comfortable key to deciding where to go and how to prioritize one thing at a time. And that leads into some other questions that Kelly shares with us.
Kelly Henry 47:44
Is this really in my best interest? Is this really something I am ultimately passionate about? Before with get this when am I putting in the time, my resources? Am I putting the actual effort in to achieve that win? To me, that’s probably the number one reason we’re not achieving winds as quickly as we should because we really have dedicated the right amount of time and effort and focus to it’s we have to be careful with that. And then there’s times where, okay, yeah, this is probably not the right one for me at this point. So, and again, that’s not failure. That’s just understanding, hey, things have changed. And this is not the right cultural meeting. So let’s step back, let’s reevaluate. Let’s get that feedback. Let’s get another game plan and let’s move in a different direction, pivot and do something different. So it’s okay to do that, too.
Jess Dewell 48:31
Yeah, it’s okay. It’s okay to feel like we have egg on our face. Because Luke was saying earlier, it’s a story. It’s okay to not hit the growth goals, we want still have success. Because it’s a story. It’s okay to have a totally different outcome than expected. Because it’s still a story. It’s one of the cool things about hindsight. So if we’re not using it in our cadence, if we’re not using it as part of our reflection, if we’re not using it as part of our framework, then we’re missing the opportunity to leverage what we’re learning that intelligence we have along the way to not only reduce risk, not only reduce blind spots but to continue to create the way work is done in your organization where curiosity exists, where creativity exists.
Luke Layman 49:17
Think forward to what you would like it to be, think behind to what it was before. That’s the first and easiest thing for us to do is to change our perspective is think about it in a different frame of time.
Jay Hanes 49:29
It’s an ongoing process, it almost never ends. Because there’s always improvements we can make. Actually, Amazon is a great example of this. If you look at what Jeff Bezos has said, He’s basically said, I’m never gonna stop making things faster and more accurate for my customers. He said it in a different way. But when he said, I think it was that his customers always delightfully dissatisfied. If you look at what they’ve done, they would ship products to you and then they had prime memberships, so they ship them even faster, and even And overnight wasn’t enough for two days. Now they’re the same day delivery. And the he’s trying to get within the same hour, because he’s set up a drone. Now whether or not their regulators allowed this, but right, they’ll just fly the drone right to your house. And within an hour, you will have that paper towels you need, all of that relates to shopping. But when you really get too complicated jobs that customers are trying to achieve, there is always room for improvement. We’ve never seen anything that’s perfectly executed instantaneously. With AI and machine learning coming, we’re gonna get faster and faster and faster. That’s true. But I think there will always be the dimensions that you can improve on.
Jess Dewell 50:39
And that’s what we’re talking about here. Where can we improve? What can we lean on from the intelligence that we have, from our past collective experience to grow from the inside, all the while looking outside to how can we be a value to our customer, what can we do to make their lives easier, better. And that leads us in to the three takeaways of today, to keep an eye on our strengths, to create that internal cadence that includes reflection, not only for ourselves in the roles that we’re in, but also for our company and the organization as a whole to consistently work within a framework. Because the rapidly changing market, the demands required to flux and adapt during disruption and distraction and interruption even can foster and instill creativity and innovation along the way. It is bold, to prioritize one big initiative at a time.
Kelly Henry 51:42
Customer Service, either build or destroy the business. Either you’re doing things to make customer service better, or you’re not. And it’s going to take away and destroys a strong word. But it’s going to be very detrimental to your business. Each and every business has to understand that. And so to have the idea that we both understand that customer service, everybody knows that everybody understands that. Yeah, that’s a good idea. But be bold enough to say, you know what this is should be more than idea. It should be a core principle, it should be a mission in our business, regardless of what business you’re in, to make the customer patient-client valuable important. It’s bold to take that step forward.
Jess Dewell 52:25
It is bold, to prioritize one big initiative at a time.
Luke Layman 52:32
Being bold. I hear a lot of folks in the industry talking about taking massive action, get out here. And I can’t, I can’t I don’t have the tireless energy to take massive action. What is what does that what that even look like lift a Volkswagen, you know, work 16 hour days? No, thank you all massive action. To be bold, in my mind, in business in general is about taking imperfect and consistent action. I oftentimes think and you’ll hear this on other podcasts that I’ve been a part of, if I was ever interviewed for a job, maybe I’ll get there one day and they said, Luke, what is it that you can bring to our company and I say I make decisions that are 90% correct? With 80% of the information. And that’s all I’m ever going for. And then I’m going to take action, and action and action and write a proposal and do a sales call and hire the next employee and look for investment opportunities. And you name it the next one, next one, next one. But almost love always never. I very rarely look for 100% ROI. I can’t even think like what medical diagnosis? No thanks, I’d rather just start the treatment, right. And it doesn’t matter what the real thing is.
Jess Dewell 53:43
It is bold, to prioritize one big initiative at a time.
Jay Hanes 53:50
The Bold part of it is really something that doesn’t happen day, it’s tying your product strategy, strategy, and your roadmap directly to your revenue. product teams really aren’t responsible for revenue. Again, if you think about it, the sales teams responsible for revenue. If you miss your revenue, what starts to happen? Well, the product team blames the sales team. Or if it’s the consumer, they blame the marketing team. And then the sales team blames the product team and says we don’t have a good product, you know, and then it’s this downward spiral. It’s awful, and we see it all the time. That’s what’s really powerful is if you’re coordinated on that, you know, you can avoid that downward spiral. And that’s what’s really bold, is you can say even before you invest $1 in developing the product, you can go back and say this represents a, you know, whatever it is 100 million or $100 billion market opportunity for us. And this segment of customers is really willing to pay to get this job done. So we’re going to tie building this product to our revenue growth and at the end of the day, that is why companies succeed or fail, they either have a product that people want or they don’t.
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