“Our people are the most valuable assets.” So said every leader who didn’t want to aggravate their team. Is there truth in this truism? And what does doing it look like?
Well The Observer Effect took the plunge, and for the best part of last week we committed ourselves to ourselves. Here’s what we did and what we learned…
What we did
1. We sought the outside view.
We’ve all been on those away-days where we sit in workshops, hand to chin, discussing how we’re unique. We rehash and rephrase it to make it 10% better. Then we all go drinking.
At The Observer Effect we’re curious, but we aim our curiosity at the world around us. So we kicked off the week by grilling our Chairman on the opportunities he sees from his conversations with businesses around the world.
This set up everything we discussed and built in the rest of the week, happy that we were developing something that had a use in the market.
2. We confirmed our Purpose and our Vision
We’ve learned a lot in the last few months, thanks to the wonderful clients we’ve worked with. So we all felt we needed to re-anchor ourselves to an explicit
statement of what we’re here for and what we want to help businesses to achieve. We’d drafted this in December, it hasn’t changed substantially, but this step formed our platform…
3. We built Products
It’s easy in this game to develop an offering that name-checks the current industry buzzwords but that actually says nothing to anyone else. I once learned about the Kano model, which gets you to think about product features in terms of their value to customers.
So that’s how we started this discussion — not with “What could we do?” but with “Serving our Vision, how could we be valuable to businesses?”
4. We developed our own Brand
Businesses need us to be specific about what we’re for and how we might work with them. To help us understand ourselves better, we explored and named the role we aim to play in our clients’ lives. This aligned our team and is going to guide what we create and how we communicate.
5. We hung out together
We come from all sorts of backgrounds, to give us the mix of disciplines our clients need. So we all see the world through a different lens.
What we’ve not had time to do recently is listen to each other’s stories, hear about each other’s view of the world. I know that teams bond when they deliver work together. But being together in a calmer environment is a chance to discover more about each other, and what we can each contribute.
And what we learned
1. Knowing our Purpose and Vision gives everyone power
And in fact we discovered that across our team we weren’t all confidently aligned to what we existed for in the world. With that revisited, discussed, stretched and tested, the team came alive and the ideas were flying.
And the good news — the Purpose and Vision are sound! See the next point.
2. The big changes in the world all point towards customer power
Companies increasingly don’t control how they’re viewed in the market place. Perception is generated and spread in peer groups. Success and failure can be determined in days.
Yet many established companies are not arranged to operate in this way. As such they risk only guessing what they mean in the marketplace, what customers believe them to be good or bad at. And so they aren’t the masters of their destinies.
3. The Observer Effect recognises its humility
With quite some enthusiasm, we believe about a couple of things: customer insight and the customer-centric design of propositions.
But we don’t mean to force our passions onto the world. It’s only through connections with like-minded clients that we are able to help create better experiences for customers.
And while we think you’d be mad not to work with us, we humbly recognise the ambitions and dreams you share with us by engaging us.
So we reminded ourselves again of the burden that we carry on behalf of the companies we aim to work for. Quite a moment, that only comes when things are a little calmer.
4. We’re a better team now
We’ve looked each other in the eye. We’ve listened to, challenged and cajoled each other and built some great things, joked and dined together.
Now, we’re palpably more open with each other. Cooperation is quicker and easier. Trust has grown.
5. We’re going to do this again
Our company is stronger from taking some time out to invest in ourselves — this is going to become a habit. But what would we do differently next time?
Thanks for reading and if would like to share your thoughts, please feel free to reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.
You can find out more about The Observer Effect here.
Enjoy the rest of the week,