Awkward Reality #214

Are you the golf club maker or the golf pro?

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Should your employees learn customer insight skills from an external firm… or should you develop home-grown training? If the external firm has worked with many companies across many global industries, it will probably advance these methods faster and further than you can. Think of them as the golf club maker. The glory belongs to the golf pro… so focus on your practice time, coaching and desire as the pro… not in making clubs.

More in article, You Already Answered 4 Questions, but… Correctly?

Episode #10

Awkward Reality #213

The growth you earned may be less than you think.

213-Tide-Lifting-Boat

“Market Growth” is the tide that lifts all boats… your reward for being just average. “Inherited Growth” comes from great products developed long ago. These are the gifts that keep giving… until they don’t (when you’ve been commoditized). The only one you control is “Earned Growth,” when you understand and meet customer needs better than anyone else.

More in article, Better get used to mediocre growth

Episode #09

The Amazing ROI for Voice of the Customer

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Some would say that investments in Voice of the Customer are “too expensive and time consuming.” After all, does it really make sense for employees to spend time on VoC projects? For them to be on the road, interviewing customers? Instead, shouldn’t they be doing things that “drive sales?” Like working more shows? Assisting sales ... Read More

Awkward Reality #212

Connect the dots between customer outcomes and your growth.

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I’ve come to believe two principles: A) The only way to create customer value is by improving their important, unmet outcomes. B) A supplier’s only path to profitable, sustainable organic growth is in creating customer value. Do you agree? If so, you might want to place a very high priority on understanding which customer outcomes these are.

More in article, Your Best Path to Profitable, Sustainable Organic Growth

Episode #08

Awkward Reality #211

The only business area where you want surprises is customer-facing innovation.

211-Business-Surprise

In every other business area—e.g. production or accounting—surprises are unwelcome. But when you are surprised by customer needs that competitors have missed, you have an edge. Seek these out in free-thinking, customer-led interviews, maintain a probing curiosity, and avoid rigid schedules that discourage flexibility. Be surprised. And be happy about it.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 10).

Awkward Reality #210

Do you understand market needs… or market reaction?

210-Validate-Idea

Many B2B producers are stuck at the 2nd of the 4 innovation maturity levels: Solution Validation. When they ask customers to validate their cool new idea, they think they are understanding market needs. They are not. They are simply understanding market reaction… to one idea… their idea. You’ll get far better results by reaching the 3rd maturity level: Market Insight.

More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs (page 7).

Awkward Reality #209

It’s better if the project team—not management—stops a project.

209-Stop-Project

No team wants to waste time on a loser: Life is too short. So if management has to stop a project, the team was inexperienced, communicated poorly, or had different expectations than management. All these ailments are addressed by requiring every team to use a common business case template, not their own, start-from-scratch PowerPoint® presentations.

More in article, How Leaders Can Accelerate New-Product Development