Your'e fired!

If our internal customers could fire us, would they?

This was the courageous question on the minds of the CX division of a local cell giant in their quest to establish relevance and connection with their internal customers.

To make progress with this quest, Game On leveraged the groundbreaking work of Prof Clayton Christensen of Harvard and pioneered a leadership development program focused on Jobs to be Done.

To kick things off, Game On introduced a structured Jobs Canvas to guide their requirement conversations with their internal customers to explore the following: What progress do you want to make? What struggles are you experiencing that are frustrating progress? What is the job that we can do to help you overcome your struggles and make the progress you desire?

The Jobs Canvas interviews saw several somewhat surprised internal customers answering questions probing their deepest needs and desires. Unaccustomed to this level of interest, some internal customers responded with initial caution, answering the questions as factually as possible. Other internal customers reveled in the experience, sharing their deepest dreams and fiercest struggles with courageous vulnerability.

Ten leaders produced ten jobs canvases for discussion with their Game On coach. Ten leaders admitted to being somewhat unsettled by the intimacy of the process, and somewhat surprised by the wealth of information they had uncovered. They never knew there was so much stuff going on for their customer. They didn’t anticipate how important or significant the jobs they were doing were to their customers. They wondered how this depth of insight would have changed the way they did jobs in the past for their customers.  They were unsettled but hooked.

With this new lens to look through, it started becoming apparent to each leader that they’re hired to do tasks for internal customers all the time. Produce a report for this division. Do a thing for that guy. Run a project that produces a something that someone else needs. While they’re hired to perform tasks, a lot of the time they didn’t necessarily even understand the progress their customer was trying to make by hiring them. So, they spent most of their time ticking tasks off lists and feeling pretty good about it, but now realized they’d lost touch with why they were doing what they were doing. They realized that they were losing out on the opportunity to innovate better ways to make the progress their customers really wanted, something they deeply wanted to do. At an experience level their customers felt like they were being made to work too hard and the leaders felt like they were just a pawn in someone else’s game.

Through the program, they found how much more value they could create if, instead of being task takers, they engaged their customers around the progress they were trying to make and the problems that needed to be solved to make progress. Tasks are now the conclusion of the conversation not the starting point.

If we all did this with our internal customers, would we be easier and more pleasant to deal with? Would we produce more creative outcomes? Would our internal customers feel that we create more value for them? Would our organisations be creating more value for our external customers?

Make sure your internal customers get your A game. A Jobs to be Done exercise and Jobs Canvas is a great way to get the conversation and the relationship focused on creating value.

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