Posts Tagged Vision

Where’s your concept car?

Do you have a vision for where you are going?

It occurred to me a few years ago that most of the teams I was working with were missing a clean vision.  They had many “projects”.  They all had “vision statements” in their plans.  They had “objectives”, “strategies”, “prototypes” and all of the other stuff that goes into good planning.  But most were missing the ultimate destination in a form that would allow them to share a clear and unified understanding of exactly where they were all trying to go.

Expressing your vision in a way others can understand it allows them to rally, inspire the right thinking, and make the right choices along the way to realize it.

This got me thinking about the automotive industry and the “concept car”.  These are real and functioning manifestations of a vision.  They are not just built to excite consumers at auto shows.  Rather, they are destinations that force the company to think about exactly what the future looks like: in a way they can physically explore it, understand it, test it, find problems and solutions for it, and ensure the right choices are made in the boardroom to enable the company to realize it.  Perhaps most importantly, building your concept car allows you to think outside of your own manufacturing constraints, so that you can focus on what consumers actually want and what you would have to be able to build (vs. what you can build today that they “might like”).

Example:  It’s hard to imagine Apple could have gotten to any of their products without a very clear, real and functioning prototype of what they wanted at the beginning of the process.  It’s also hard to believe Apple would try so hard to innovate if they owned production facilities that couldn’t make a completely different product next year.  They have a fully functioning vision at the start, and then design the business around getting it to consumers.  It’s obvious for engineers, so why do so many marketers miss it?

We need more “concept cars” in our thinking.

, ,

Leave a comment

The PurplePrinciples.

A collection of guiding management principles I wish I had understood before having to learn them the hard way:

Set your destination.

Define the goal, paint the picture of success, first.  An action without this is directionless.

Know your objective.

What exactly is it you are trying to achieve?  Questions are usually easy to solve when you know what the answer needs to be.

Make the hard choices.

Strategy is about choice.  You cannot do everything well, so what do you want to focus on?

Move the needle.

An idea without action is meaningless.  An action with no results is a failed investment.  Make sure the things you do create value.

Be Better.

Understand those you want to love your product / idea.  Then create something they would love, by ensuring that it is BETTER than anything else they could find.  Dont be competitive, be BETTER than everyone else.

Keep it simple.

Things are generally complicated, but complexity breeds misunderstanding and people avoid it.  Making things very simple is not easy, but everybody gets it.

Borrow it.

Invent where absolutely required.  But stealing what works and then doing it faster and better is always much easier.

Don’t be insane.

The definition of insanity is to do the exact same thing over and over again, yet each time expecting different results.  Clear the table of what is not working.  Don’t be crazy.

No weak links.

Team members who aren’t pulling their weight, or are counter-productive, need to go for the sake of the greater good.  Even if they are the smartest and brightest.  Its uncomfortable, but essential.

Reward.

Celebrate when you move the needle.  Note others achievements aloud.  Make sure that you mark the occasions where hard work has delivered.

Listen.

Two ears, one mouth.  Understanding what someone actually means is not easy.  Plus, people will like you more.

Finish what you start.
When you start something, write it down and scratch it out once done.  Don’t leave too many things undone.  It creates anxiety, which creates stasis, which stresses you and those that work with you.

Build, don’t destroy.

It’s very simple to spot imperfections in others ideas, and pointing these out rarely has any productive value or result.  Help build on others ideas instead.

Make wonderful things.

Don’t ever leave yourself in a position where you are trying to put makeup on a pig.  Make your products wonderful, and they will be loved and sell themselves.

Be Remarkable.

Doing something that people will notice, and might matter enough to share, is always a goal unto itself.

Be positive.

Negative thinking breeds laziness and inaction.  Positivity is productive and breeds excitement.  Both can spread through an organization like a virus.  Pick one.

Dream.

What would you love to do?  Do that.

Do what you say you will do.

Don’t set precedent as someone who might not deliver by leaving things undone.  You want to be the person whom others can count on to make things happen.

Some people will not to like you.

You won’t be effective unless some people don’t like you.  Trying to please everyone is a certain way to take the power out of any initiative.

Make things easy, useful and fun.

Simple, relevant and engaging.  Be it a product, a project ,an ad or an experience, meeting these three standards will make sure you always connect.

Execute.

The very best idea, without execution, is the worst kind of idea.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Start knowing exactly how you want to finish.

Have a vision.  Being able to paint a destination for yourself before you begin work on something is the key to getting there fast, and ensuring that everything is focused on the deliverables that matter.

On this, I came across this from Ian McAllister on the Amazon practice of writing press releases for products that haven’t been spec’d yet:

For new initiatives a product manager typically starts by writing an internal press release announcing the finished product. The target audience for the press release is the new/updated product’s customers, which can be retail customers or internal users of a tool or technology. Internal press releases are centered around the customer problem, how current solutions (internal or external) fail, and how the new product will blow away existing solutions.

If the benefits listed don’t sound very interesting or exciting to customers, then perhaps they’re not (and shouldn’t be built). Instead, the product manager should keep iterating on the press release until they’ve come up with benefits that actually sound like benefits. Iterating on a press release is a lot less expensive than iterating on the product itself (and quicker!).

What a simple method for inspiring a detailed vision for what you need to end up with, before you have spent a dime.  It’s like a brief, but personified.

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment