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Pay attention to when coincidences converge.

This idea is something I’ve posted about before … and while today the context is very different than the previous post, the idea is just as relevant. Over the past week, there have been many conversations related to long range planning, strategy, selling new ideas (internally to our executives as well as externally to our customers), and the like. Woven throughout all of these conversations was a common thread …

Coincidence #1 – discussions about a cross line of business value proposition, which had me recalling context about Shark Tank from a previous post titled. Master Storyteller Is Part of Your Job Description

What’s the first question the investors on Shark Tank almost always ask? … The sharks ask about the entrepreneur’s story. How did the founder get from doing whatever they were doing to what they are currently pitching?   … The story needs to be easy to consume such that execs, analysts, investors can get behind it. It needs to be easy for sales people to relay; it should be concise enough customers/ prospects intuitively “get it”.

Coincidence #2 – a carry on from Coincidence #1 feeding into a Product Extension strategy I am crafting as part of my new role. This time the post titled Elevator Pitch in the Sound Byte Economy came to mind.

In the sound-byte economy we live in, you have a very limited opportunity to get your point across.  In fact, according to Michael Baum, you have roughly 60 seconds. That’s it!

  • 15 seconds – to establish credibility and get their attention.
  • 15 seconds – to clearly define the pain point/problem you are solving, and for whom. A day in the life … the before portion.
  • 15 seconds – to articulate your unique solution and how you take something complicated and make it simple. Continue A day in life … the after portion
  • 15 seconds – to paint a picture of how big the opportunity is, leave them excited.

The first 3 points are consistent with the Shark Tank thoughts, but it was the fourth point that really caused me to stop and pause!  Did my strategy include enough here yet?

Coincidence #3 – these are thoughts from the book I mentioned I’m reading by Popeyes CEO Cheryl Bachelder – Dare to Serve, and where the title of this post originated from.  Following are a few attention capturing nuggets:

You move what you measure. – Popeye’s Mantra

Cheryl Bachelder makes the point it takes courage to measure progress. The absence of data shouldn’t stop you from pursuing key metrics about your business so you a) understand your business and b) can act on what you learn from the data. Compelling for sure, but these points really hit home for me:

The numbers don’t lie. Once you actually know the truth, you can start improving.

The numbers don’t lie. The numbers hold you accountable to making real improvements.

The numbers don’t lie. The numbers inspire you to make action plans for reaching goals.

Coincidence #4 – again, relating back to the previous point and the absence of data around key metrics of your business, the leader of our line of business challenged the entire team with understanding their business.  Effectively, can you defend your business plan & market position by clearly articulating market share against the Available Market, Addressable Market, and Attainable Market (to fully explore this particular topic will likely require another blog post!).

So you’ve probably already concluded what the common thread was, but just in case …

  • when you are pursuing a new idea, vision or strategy … make sure it is compelling and supported by data … the numbers don’t lie.
  • in the midst managing your product, make sure you understand key metrics about the health and trajectory of your product … the numbers don’t lie.
  • when you are considering revenue for the upcoming/next planning cycle, make sure you can defend what you are going after with data … the numbers don’t lie.