3 Shots of Strategy
In the paper Marketing Myopia (HBR, 1960), Ted Levitt posed the idea of the Job to be done. "No one buys a quarter-inch drill bit because they need a quarter-inch drill bit. What they need is a quarter-inch hole. That’s what you should sell them."
Makes perfect sense right? The lesson is that the drill bit is merely a feature, a means to an end, but what people truly want is the hole it makes.
So, how do you improve milkshake sales? What is the job of a milkshake? It might surprise you that it had little to do with the flavors or temperature. Watch Clayton Christensen describe what he found when he dug in.
However, in his latest book This is Marketing, Seth Godin points out:
That doesn’t go nearly far enough. No one wants a hole. What would you possibly need a quarter-inch hole for?
What you need is a place to put the expansion bolt so you can put a screw in the wall. But actually, you don’t need that. What you need is to put the shelf on the wall.
But you don’t really need that. What you need is a place to put the books that are cluttering your bedroom. What they really want is the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the bedroom isn’t a mess, and that it feels safe and clean.
They also want the satisfaction of knowing they did it themselves.
What you need is the way you will feel when your spouse thanks you for cleaning things up.
What you really need are safety and security and a feeling that you did something that was important.
“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill bit. They want to feel safe and respected.”
That’s what we sell. And it turns out that’s what we sell when we sell everything.
A question can teach more than a thousand answers. A Maria Montessori (a pioneer in the field of education) one-liner is "Teach me to do it myself". That also holds true for managing people. If you solve everyone's problem, you become the bottleneck. Plus, you're doing the thing you hired them for.
More effective is to teach them to solve the problems so they don't rely on you. It's the whole "teach a man to fish"-thing.
You do so by asking questions instead of providing answers. Claire Lew of Know Your Team gives 16 questions to get you started.