8 Steps to Build a Firm Foundation for Value
Point of View is Considered
Have you ever given time to really considering, what your point of view is? Point of view is not an opinion, or a ‘nice to have’. Point of view is your foundation for differentiated value that is well thought-out and structured. It is a template for delivering value consistently. You have to articulate it clearly and live by it in your interactions with your customers, for them to truly understand your differentiation. If you don’t taken the time to test it’s viability, your point of view is no more than a hunch or an opinion.
Point of view is your foundation for differentiated value that is well thought-out and structured.
Point of View creates Advantage
Usual perceptions of competition focus on product and pricing, but there are other areas you can show competitive advantage, such as through customer experience, your business model or how you operate. These are core components of your point of view. If you establish and declare your point of view clearly, these customer benefits will not get hidden behind more prominent product and pricing elements. If you have gone to the lengths of building a relationship with your customers and partners – internal or external – you should also go this extra step to define your point of view clearly. It will lift you above your generic competition.
Point of View is Active
Even if someone has a pretty clear sense of their value, it can remain un-articulated. Sometimes the organization wrapped around them softens the need for them to state their point of view clearly. That’s a risk. If they float along with an organizational mission and that mission suddenly changes, it can be difficult to clearly articulate their position or value. Point of view should be observant, engaging, iterative and – above all – it should be active.
Point of View Stands for Something
A clearly stated point of view is definitive and assertive. It is adaptive and expresses that your point of view emanates from and stands for knowledge, research and the ability to listen to your customers’ needs. It exists to help solve customer challenges so they can do the jobs they need to do. It shows that you have the experience, the tools and the perspective to bring real value to your work – and create value for your organization to boot.
Point of View for Innovation
Innovation is the discovery and exploration of new things and new ways. Every agile organization planning for the future needs a well-structured, repeatable process for innovation, no matter what business function it is in. It can be difficult to sell futures in a battle-hardened, metrics-driven organization, so if you’re determined to innovate in the face of probabilities and facts, you’re going to want to have a rock-solid point of view and a process for identifying new value and metrics fast.
It can be difficult to sell futures in a battle-hardened, metrics-driven organization
The Well-Informed Point of View
In the diagram below, I outline eight core components of a well-informed Point of View. Your point of view should be iterative and circular, because you’re going to learn something new everyday.
- Realize the potential of people and programs.
- Design from the customer’s perspective, or, ‘from the outside-in’.
- Embed strong Customer IQ in decision-making processes.
- Customer-driven decision-making informs what to do to transform your team’s culture and how to go about it.
- Build your value proposition on a commitment to customer value. This means clearly understanding the jobs customers have to do, helping them overcome their challenges and realize the benefits of doing so.
- Get comfortable with exploring and innovating at every point on the customer journey and at every level in the organization, because each customer is unique.
- Use design processes to stay customer-focused, innovative and to create value.
- Be branded by your customers because of the value you bring.
Every project has constraints! These are to be welcomed because they help give your work scope and definition. While constraints differ between projects, I tend to believe there are three critical filters when it comes to establishing and honing your point of view.
- Audience: Who are you actually providing value to? Once, when trying to sell a storage array to a customer, we discovered that the real value accruing was to the business application owners who relied on our customer’s storage service. A golden rule of marketing is quite simply this: know your audience, the context and the right stories to tell.
- Customer Relationship: are you acquiring, retaining or growing your relationship with your customer? This helps determine the potential you are addressing, the vision your point of view will enable, the value you need to bring, the level of innovation required and the scope of the design process involved in delivering on your point of view.
- ‘Bumper Car Test’: a well-designed point of view should be able to take a lot of hits and challenges and still hold up. It should be adaptive and agile and make you want to go out again and again.
a well-designed point of view should be able to take a lot of hits and challenges and still hold up.
Point of View and Selling Innovation
Innovation is one-part point of view, one-part design and one-part sales-pitch. Your point of view doesn’t have to be a one-person show, in fact, if you put together a band of ‘radical collaborators’ – partners from across a broad range of functions or disciplines – to co-design and validate your point of view, you’ll design in real strength before you go to bat. This means you’ll have prototyped it and iterated on it several times to gain buy-in and test its durability. The experience will stand to you favorably.
Points of view are iterative
Your first a-ha! moment is the initial spark of a point of view. To make it your foundation for value, you have to discover if it can take you all the way to meaningful customer outcomes and iterate your way there.