A customer perspective makes you a better manager. A manager is going to be better if they think about the outside customer that you're trying to sell to, and making sure you've got them in mind. But there are lots of other customers. So if you're a manager and you're not the CEO, you're working for somebody, they're a customer of your work product.
In this episode
Are you being strategic or are you just planning?
“At least 90% of all the strategy that goes on in the world is planning, not strategy.”
Roger Martin is a trusted strategy advisor, author of A New Way to Think: Your Guide to Superior Managerial Effectiveness, and previously named the world’s #1 management thinker by Thinkers50.
In today’s episode, Roger shares the common problems with manager effectiveness and what he has seen change over the last four decades in the industry.
We also talked about being more strategic before acting and the difference between strategy versus planning.
Roger also shared more about enabling management system and how to prioritize for strategic benefit.
Tune in to hear all about Roger’s leadership journey and the lessons learned along the way!
Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the podcast with your colleagues.
Not being leaderly enough
Common problems with management effectiveness
Addressing fundamental issues first
Strategy vs planning
Enabling management system
Great managers have a customer perspective
- Read A New Way to Think
- Read Playing to Win
- Follow Roger here
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 00:34
Roger, welcome to the show.
Roger Martin (Author) 03:05
Hey, Aydin it’s great to be here. I’m looking forward to it. Yeah,
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 03:08
very excited to chat with you. You’ve had a pretty extensive leadership career. And in 2017, you were named the world’s number one management thinker by thinker’s 50, which sounds awesome. And your trusted strategy adviser to CEOs of large companies, Procter and Gamble, Lego Ford Fusion mentioned there. And of course, you’re now the author of a new book, a new way to think your guide to superior managerial effectiveness. So lots of stuff to talk about today. But what we’d like to do as a first question is to ask you, do you remember when you very first time started to become a manager or leader? And what were some of the early mistakes that you made back in those days?
Roger Martin (Author) 03:50
Sure, I guess that would have been in my early days. Monitor company, a consulting company that a bunch of friends of mine Professor started coming out of business school, or a couple of years after. And I started managing what we call case team. So I would be the person in charge. And I’d have case team members reporting to me. I think, probably the earliest mistakes I made were in not being literally enough. I think I always wanted people to be happy, and I let them to do great extent do things that they thought were important that when you added them up, didn’t deliver to the client, what the client needed, and what would have been better would have been for me to say, if they wanted to do something, oh, I think we should analyze this or I shouldn’t do this analysis, rather than saying, Okay, if you think that’s interesting, go ahead. Just a quiz them a little more and say, Okay, how do you see that contributing to the thing we’re trying to deliver for The client. And I think if I’d have been better on that, it would have been a sort of a teaching moment where some of them it would have been well, I don’t know. But I think it’s cool, right? And I’m not sure we’re paid for being cool. We’re paid for solving the problem that we were asked to solve. How would you modify what you’re doing? So I probably took some hits from clients, for having team members who reported to me present to them stuff that the team member thought was awesome. And the client was like, why am I listening to this?
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 05:35
Yeah, that’s awesome. You know, what I like about what you just said, which was, this is obviously something that you are saying was a mistake, but even in the way that you would go back and change it, you know, you didn’t say something like, Well, I would just tell them that that’s wrong. And we shouldn’t do that. Your response was, I would have quizzed them a bit more. And so I think like that, in itself is really awesome. But then yeah, if someone says something is very cool, then maybe you say, well, we’re not paid for? And how can you revise that? So even the way that you would go back and change that mistake, I think is very instructive, in itself.
Roger Martin (Author) 06:09
Oh, interesting. I’ve always believed as a manager, right? You know, there’s nothing better than having enthusiastic people working with you. And if you crush their enthusiasm, you’ll get them kind of dutifully working to rule not bringing their most to the party. So I guess I’ve always believed that having them feel kind of good is important. And, you know, they have to know why. Right? So if I don’t think something that they’re doing is what we need, I have to help them understand why that might not be the case. Because if I cannot help them understand why, and then help guide them to doing something that will be more fulfilling, then I’ll get their enthusiasm, their commitment, and that’s what I need. I don’t have that and sort of gotten nothing.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 07:01
That makes a lot of sense. And I think this is the sort of stuff that it might sound like small things, but these are the things that make the biggest difference. So you obviously have a lot to say about management. You’ve written 13 different books in four decades. And I’ve been curious to ask you, you know, of all the things that you’ve thought about the different people that you’ve strategized. What would you say are some of the most common problems that you’ve encountered when looking at effectiveness across the board manager effectiveness?
Roger Martin (Author) 07:32
It feels to me as though there’s a kind of a class of managers. In some sense, it’s not exactly the right metaphor, but there’s from hand to mouth, right? It’s like, right now, what things are presenting to me now, Oh, we lost that account. So we gotta get another one. Or, you know, there’s competitors are doing some things, oh, well, we got to watch that they’re sort of whatever is immediately presenting, they go and try and solve that. They kind of don’t sit back and say, like, what more holistically is going on here, our customers changing from what we thought they wanted. And what we are geared up to serve has the competitive dynamic changed is technology changing, so that they can step back and say, we’ve got a longer term problem here a more fundamental problem, and then solve that, before it becomes overwhelming. Because what I’ve watched happen to managers when they get overwhelmed, then they start doing kind of destructive things. For some reason that yeah, I don’t know if you’d like farside. I like farside cartoons. And there’s one of the students who says, because it puts his hand up, and he says to the teacher, Teacher, teacher, stop, my head is full. And I sometimes think of that when I think of some managers who are overwhelmed, their head is full, I like I empathize with them. So the reason their head is full is that if you don’t tackle those longer term, more fundamental issues that may feel to you like, oh, I can wait to do that. If you don’t, then the little issues keep piling up and piling up. And some of the symptoms of the fact you haven’t dealt with the bigger issues, and then you are just overwhelmed with things. And so I empathize with them. I mean, I feel badly for them. But that’s a fundamental problem that I see kind of over and over and over and then they can justify doing all sorts of short term things but that don’t really solve the fundamental problem. Example would be often well sales. Our sales force isn’t being very effective, you know, they’re not closing as many deals that they need to be closing to make our numbers. And so then they go after the salesperson say, Why are you making enough calls and are you not closing enough? Do you have enough closing skills and everything else? And often it’s just a fundamental product, offering whatever service or product problem where you’re not as competitive as you were two years ago. And it’s not a sales problem. It’s not that they’re not working hard and trying hard. They don’t have something useful to sell. And so you figure out how to hire more salespeople and beat up the salespeople more you say, oh, no, no, we got to create a greater incentives, we got to give them more incentive to sell more. And none of that helps. And you get farther and farther behind your budget, what you promise the capital markets and then so you, you say, well, maybe we have to really stimulate demand by cutting our prices. And then then, you know, you end up making less money and everybody’s mad at you. Sir Roger, I
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 10:45
also wanted to ask you about you know, since publishing your opposable minds book, I’m curious, have your views changed? Or any views changed about how you think about management? Or perhaps what’s stayed the same? Or? I’m just curious, you know, over the evolution of 13 books, and for decades, what are the things that like, maybe you’ve changed your mind on? And what are the things that, you know, remain true?
Roger Martin (Author) 11:11
I think the big thing that’s happened to me is various strands, my thinking have more converged. So that’s the big effect, not too much of a change in what I thought about x. So on, you know, I’m sort of known for being a strategy guy kind of and playing to win and that strategy framework, and that’s sort of one vector. And then I have this integrative thinking, here’s how highly successful leaders think when they’re facing an either or choice, they come up with something better. Those two were just independent streams of thought, when I originally kind of conceived of them, I was just interested in both of those topics. And I went off and did stuff in those directions. Same thing was in design thinking, right? That was another kind of direction that I went off on. But over time, I came to realize, wow, kind of integrative thinking and strategy converge. Because I say in strategy, what you should do is figure out what the problem you’re trying to solve is, and then imagine possibilities. And those possibilities are often we could do X, or we can do Y, or Z. And it’s sort of as mutually exclusive. But then I realized, hey, if you’ve got an x and a y that seemed mutually exclusive, shouldn’t you do an integrative thinking exercise on that to see if there’s a b, that is better than an x and y, but contains elements of each? And you might say, Why didn’t I think of that before I didn’t, it took me like about 10 years to figure out that I need to integrate integrative thinking, into my way of thinking about strategy. And I did the same with design thinking, which is, I used to say that you should imagine possibilities, then reverse engineer to figure out what would have to be true for each to be a good idea, then assess the barriers to choice, and figure out which of the possibilities doesn’t have kind of barriers, that would stop it from being a good idea. But then, as I thought a lot about design and and design thinking, what I realized is well, actually what a great design thinker does was take something that isn’t true today. And through this process of iterative prototyping, kind of make something true. That wasn’t. And so now my view of strategy has got integrative thinking infused in Design Thinking infused in it. So that would be how I’d say my thinking has changed, which is a bunch of things have converged into a meta way of thinking about management.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 13:57
It’s super interesting. And by the way, I should say that playing to win amongst for me, and for so many of my entrepreneur friends is one of those must read, you know, drop everything, go read that book, if you want to do something meaningful as an entrepreneur.
Roger Martin (Author) 14:13
Oh, I’m glad you say that. Because some people say, Oh, Roger, you know, that’s strategy that’s for big companies. But you know, entrepreneurs don’t have time for that. And the like, as you may or may not, I’m, I do a whole lot of angel investing type diving on investment portfolio, cash and early stage, no public equities, unless I’ve kept the public equity of some of one of my early stage that’s gone up like, and the only way I’ll invest, right is if I can see a playing to win story, right? And often it’s not presented that way. But I quiz the person and if there’s a where to play, how to win that makes sense capabilities, then I will invest and if there’s not, there’s not a chance. Yeah, I don’t care what industry and what fancy financials you’ve given me I’m not interested in And that unless it’s got a plan to end, so I always use it for that. So I’m glad you and other entrepreneurs are are doing that as well,
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 15:06
oh, it’s huge, not only does it get recommended just the terminology, and it’s almost like become part of a, you know, if you’re going to do this, why do anything unless it’s going to be a category. So I think it’s very interesting, the way that you put it just the, it almost seems like you have a higher resolution view onto things now where the way that things interconnect as well. So all the things have been true. But now, it’s just, like you said, a meta view of how those things are also integrated, which is awesome. So again, like I know, you just said that a lot of people call you the strategy guy. And you’ve been labeled that way, you know, from a manager standpoint. And because we started talking about this as well, right, you were saying a lot of people just get a bunch of information, and then they may act on it. But really, the problem to solve is something else. So it sounds like you know, from your viewpoint that most managers, leaders, they just need to be a little bit more strategic, or their tactical ways that, you know, maybe like a framework of, you know, you get a bunch of information before you act, do this or that, like, what kind of advice would you give to people when presented with problems?
Roger Martin (Author) 16:15
I talk a lot about strategy versus planning. Because most people talk about strategy, what they actually mean is planning, and at least 90% of all the strategy that goes on in the world is planning, not strategy. And what do I mean by planning, planning is when you try to line up a set of initiatives, each of which is sensible. And often the way you plan as you go, let’s say you have three business units, you go to the business unit, president of A, B, and C and say, What do you want? What do you need? What are your initiatives, and you go to the head of manufacturing, the head of it, and the head of HR and whatever you want, and you come up with a list of initiatives, and then you kind of force rank them and say, We’re going to start spending on them from top to bottom, or you say, Oh, that would take $2 billion, and we’ve got $1.6 billion to spend. So you’ll each get 80% of what you it’s sort of based on sensible initiatives. Right? The problem with that is that the challenge is not one of essentially, if you think about it, like you do an experiment independent variables, the independent variables are all the things you control, right? And the dependent variable, is what you’d like to have happen. Right? So let’s just say we want to have kids in school learn faster and better. That’s the dependent variable, we cannot force it to happen, right? It either does or does not. Then there are these independent variables, classroom size, it available, teacher training, teacher compensation, whatever, all those things we totally control. So what we do is we say, well, if we ratcheted this upgrade class sizes down and size teacher education, not more, more it will we get better earnings strategists understand that the customer is the dependent variable, they do whatever they darn well, please, they will hand over checks to you only if they think you’re worth it. Planners kind of imagine that if they do a bunch of initiatives, and they’re all sensible. And they went about figuring out the initiatives by some sort of due process, everybody got a say, and we rank them and agreed on them, that somehow that will make the thing that you can’t control do what you want. It does. But you have to have is a theory of how doing this and this and this, and this will compel customers to say we want your product, your service, not somebody else’s. Right. So that’s the key to strategy is the idea that you don’t control the most important thing, the customer and your choices have to compel them to take action. So they can’t be a laundry list of sensible things. They’ve got to be a coordinated, integrated set of choices that provides this compelling offering.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 19:21
Hey, there. Just a quick note, before we move on to the next part, if you’re listening to this podcast, you’re probably already doing one on one meetings. But here’s the thing. We all know that one on one meetings are the most powerful, but at the same time, the most misunderstood concept in practice and management. That’s why we’ve spent over a year compiling the best information, the best expert advice into this beautifully designed 90 Plus page ebook. Now don’t worry, it’s not single spaced font, you know, lots of tax. There’s a lot of pictures. It’s nice, easily consumable information. We spent so much time building it and And the great news is that it’s completely free. So head on over to Fellow.app slash blog to download the Definitive Guide on one on ones. It’s there for you. We hope you enjoy it. And let us know what you think. And with that said, let’s go back to the interview. And so when you think about, like contrasting this to, you know, planning, I guess like is what’s missing in planning the very, I guess, clear definition that this is a thesis that we have, but it doesn’t necessarily it’s not necessarily going to impact it. And strategy is more about figuring out, you know, what variables in what order are going to actually make that impact?
Roger Martin (Author) 20:42
Yeah. To me, planners, people who plan don’t understand the difference between the dependent and independent variable, right. So they just focus on the independent variables and do sensible stuff, strategists say, the way we coordinate those choices, the things we choose to do or not to do, are absolutely critical in getting that outcome that we’re interested in getting. And it’s just a fundamental difference. And I just can’t tell you how many plans I’ve read strategic plans that have no strategy whatsoever in them. I hate to be you know, Debbie downer on this. But I have to say many times, I know you, you worked hard on that. And I know you’d like that to succeed, I’m afraid I can guarantee that won’t, I’d be willing, if I had a bet the proverbial mortgage on this not producing the results to think it will, I would just not very, you know, nice position to be in but, but it’s not like you can’t succeed. But you actually have to have a compelling theory that leads you to have an integrative set of choices that positions you against the customers you want to position against in a way that is superior to your competitors, we can do that you’re not doing that now. And actually, you’re not even trying. So it’s not like you’re trying and failing. No, you’re not even trying, you’re just doing a bunch of stuff. And I wish it weren’t the case, but it just it just is that is at least at least 85, probably 90% of all strategic plans, they’re worthless, they have ie they have no positive utility.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 22:27
That’s a pretty big sale. I mean, that’s very important to know, because I know that you have a pretty broad purview. And you’ve seen a lot of strategic plan. So for you to say that, I think is very enlightening. So on this point of, you know, getting more people, it’s, I guess, to do better, you also have this concept of an enabling management system, I would love for you to explain what that is.
Roger Martin (Author) 22:53
So my framework for thinking about strategy says you have the core of strategy, the heart, as I call it, as the where to play, how to win choice, we’re gonna play on this playing field with an intent to win this way. Well, if you’re four seasons, you know, we’re gonna play in the luxury hotel space, managing luxury hotels, and building and owning them actually managing managing them. And then we’re going to win on the basis of superior service service that makes up for what you left at home at the office, which is a different definition of service than others. So there’s your word of layout to win, well, you need the capabilities to deliver that, right. Because if you don’t have the capabilities, it’s just a pipe dream, right? So the capabilities involves having sort of staff that can treat guests in that fashion in that sort of sophisticated fashion. Right. So that’s a capability, we need experienced staff who can make decisions on the front lines, not sort of follow a rule book, whatever they can, they can actually make decisions. So the question is, what management system would produce that capability? Right, because it won’t just happen in it for sure what happened in that industry? Because Because turnover, that industry is about 80% a year in the in the hotel business. It’s huge. Yeah. Isn’t that amazing? It’s sort of like so you walk up to somebody who works full time in a hotel, and chances are they’re on their way to a 16 month career in that hotel.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 24:23
Yeah, the only way that that works is they’ve got to have the world’s greatest management system.
Roger Martin (Author) 24:29
So what they say what four seasons says, here’s the management systems we need. We need a different system for recruiting. What we have to have is everybody has to have at least three in person interviews, the last of with which is with the general manager of the hotel, before they can get a job. Most hotels go to indeed or or zip recruiter, get a bunch of resumes and just hire them. Why? Because they’re only going to be there for 18 months. So you can That’s the whole lot. So of course, it’s an Estus has a management system that says, and if you don’t do that, as a hotel manager, you get fired, right? It just flat out that’s unacceptable behavior. Well, and then you have a career planning system. So everybody who got tired at Four Seasons get sat down, said, Well, you know, here’s how we’re going to think about your career, you’re this now, here are the capabilities you’ve got to develop to be able to get to this next level. And if you get to that next level, here’s the hotels of somebody who’s at that level in a position now. So they’re the hotels that you might go to, and then this and this, and along the way you do the training you’re gonna get. And again, it’s like, for people who are going to be around for 16 months, you know, how could that be? Oh, and we have a management system that says, everybody has a certain number of days based on their seniority, have free nights, at Four Seasons, anywhere in the world. And so if you’re a newbie, it’s a couple, if you’ve been around for 20 years, it’s, it’s like, kind of week or week and a half. And there’s a system for doing that, too. Those are all enabling management systems that are designed to do what to have staff that stays a long time and get really good at their job. And so unlike the industry turnover of almost 80%, their turnover is about 10% Oh, wow. So suddenly, the three interviews start to make some sense you’re investing in, because if if you’ve got 10% turnover, their average stay is 10 years, three interviews makes sense for 10 years compensation system makes sense for 10 years, all these things suddenly make sense for you. So those are enabling management systems. And they have you know, they have another few I don’t want to waste time on going through all of them. But those are management systems, or system for recruiting a system for training and development that provides a capability staff who can who can deliver the kind of service we need to win by having superior strikingly superior service in the hotels, where our where to play is the top of the luxury market in every hotel where luxury travelers want to stay. And what’s the reward of having that nice lineup of enabling management systems producing the must have capabilities to win where you’ve chosen to play, and gets you to have your winning aspirations fulfilled to be the number one luxury hotel chain in the world and the definition of luxury service. And you embarked on that strategy in 1985. So for all those people who say, Oh, in this modern rough and tumble world, there’s the end of competitive advantage, advantages don’t last, there’s no such thing as competitive management anymore. Well, it’s been 37 years and counting where they’re on top, they haven’t been on top, they still are on top, there’s no sign of them not being on top, they’re the most profitable, they’ve got the best. So if you make an integrative set of choices like that, the reward is you get to be the top of the heap. And, you know, in the case of the wonderful is a sharp founder, right? You know, he’s got the happiest employee, hotel employees going the highest paid with best careers. So it’s great for the employees. It’s great for shareholders, it’s great for the communities, like people lobby, you know, all these cities come to them, and mayors come to them, please, please build a fourth season here. So it’s great for the cities, it’s great for humanity, making strategy choices. If you don’t have a kind of a miserable kind of life as a company where you have to send grinding down your employees, your shareholders don’t make much you can’t expand in a city in an NBA growing force in a given a given city. That’s why I’m so keen on people making strategy choices, thinking carefully about them, it really matters. You know,
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 28:51
I think this really ties well, the conversation in the beginning where, you know, you might have a situation where the topical issue is, you know, this person, this staff member made this mistake. And then the solution of the manager might be something like, well, we need better training. But then if you think about enabling management systems, like you said, you might figure out that actually, you need a system where people stay longer. And all these things happen. And so you need three interviews. And so yeah, it really ties things well together. And I think that’s an incredible stat. 10% turnover versus 80%. I mean, that’s just not even on the same planet. It’s so different.
Roger Martin (Author) 29:28
Yeah. And it also just shows that you don’t have to live by anybody’s mean. You know, Costco can look at what’s the mean salaries for store, floor workers and retail and say, Well, okay, I guess that’s what you have to do know Costco from the word go has never paid attention at all to that and pays, like kind of almost like a crazy amount more for even the lowest paid people. And what is that done? Like? What most people Say, Well, you know, that retail, you know, very skinny margins. You know, if you’re paying $22 An hour rather than $12 an hour, this is the year you’re going to be out of business. It’s Costco business. No, they’re the most successful in their category. Why? And I don’t know if you’re a Costco weenie like I am, but I love going to Costco. Because it’s such a pleasant experience, there’s always somebody there to help you. You know, if there are long lineups there, people seem to come rushing from all over the store to have more checkouts open and assisting or putting to a checkout. instead. It’s just like, heavenly. And I spend, like, way more than I should spend there because I’m happy and see all sorts of things. So and how did they do that? By staying away from the mean? See, I think there’s much about modern management, which focuses on the mean, in your data analytics is doing it to us, right, because what does data analytics? What do they focus on? The meaning the regression line? Yeah, I want to look at the outliers and ask, could we be positive, interesting outlier? And the answer is only if you’re kind of committed and think kind of holistically about how to be a constructive outlier. So
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 31:21
one other thing that I did want to ask you about is how you think about prioritizing, you know, from a strategic point of view, your companies, you know, they have employees, you have customers, you have other stakeholders, there’s the environment, there’s many different things. How should a company team prioritize what’s important for their strategic benefit?
Roger Martin (Author) 31:42
This is where it is kind of just really important to have some North Stars because the answer to your question is, there is no generic answer to your question, it depends is the answer. So what you have to start with is the idea of if we’re a business, we serve a customer of some sort. I always start from the status quo to say, oh, what customers are we serving? Now? It’s these customers. Now, we may not even know that. So we have to do some kind of like research to figure out which customers those are. Okay, so we serve them now. What outcomes are we producing? Okay, well, we, in selling about the same amount of the customer is not growing very much other people in our industry are growing. Okay, then. So we sell to these customers, we’re not growing as much as others. So our problem is we wish we were growing as fast or faster than others, and we aren’t, that would then tell you what to pay attention to. You might say, well, what is it about those competitors that cause them to be more attractive to these customers than we do? And that might end up being? You know, oh, you know, our reputation is for not very consistent quality. Sometimes they’re good. Sometimes they’re bad. But it’s a lot of variability. Well, that would then say, we must prioritize and pay attention to perhaps the production process, whether it’s a service offering, or it’s a manufacturing out of the production process that produces that variability, that’s kind of idiosyncratic and is just related to the gap between the outcomes we’re currently producing, and the results that we would like. And so I would say you search for pay attention to most focus on by starting from the customer. And starting from the gap that is produced by customer actions, right? And this gets back to the dependent variable, they’ll do whatever they want, you can’t make them do anything, anything. And so they give you the best clues as to you kind of what things that you are not doing what ways are you coming up short, that cause them to want to give their resources to somebody else?
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 34:09
Yeah, that’s a really good framework. And it’s interesting that you’re not saying necessarily, that there is one way to do things, but you’re saying that the place that you start is from the customers and they leave the clues, and that will allow you to prioritize and do everything else, and then build enabling management systems and so on and so forth.
Roger Martin (Author) 34:27
Exactly. Yeah. You work your way to that end, and its customers and problem, right. And again, some people say, Oh, you’re being negative problem. What about opportunities? Well, an opportunity not sees as a problem, right? I mean, that’s the way I think about it, just sort of like an opportunities, only an opportunity, right? If you’re not seizing it right now, if you’ve already seized it, it wouldn’t be an opportunity. It’s what you’re doing. And so you either are bothered that some other company is selling stuff, that you’re not selling Because that’s a new product line that they’ve developed and customers seem to like it, well, then that’s an opportunity to do that, too. But it’s having that as sort of, if you will, it’s sort of like in linear programming, you need an objective function in order to run a linear program to figure out what to optimize? Well, if you don’t have the objective function, which is, this is the gap between our aspirations and the outcomes we’re achieving. So any choice we have to make, you know, what you should think about is, all the cumulative choices you’ve made up till this point in time have produced your results. They’re not random, they didn’t just happen, they’re a result of your choices. How would we have to change those choices to make the gap between our outcomes and our aspired outcomes? How to make that gap go away? So start from the customer, go to gap, and then start asking the question, what different choices could we make to cause that gap to go away?
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 36:01
Yeah, it really brings things full circle here, which is, you know, of course, also identifying what the objective function is very clearly. And then focusing on the independent variables and seeing what you can change. And it all starts to make sense. You know, Roger, this has been super insightful. We’ve talked about so many different things. I’m very excited to dig into the book, a new way to think your guide disappear, managerial effectiveness, something everyone should absolutely check out. And so the final question that we like to ask everyone on the show is for all the managers and leaders constantly looking to get better at their craft, are there any final tips, tricks, or parting words of wisdom that you’d leave them with?
Roger Martin (Author) 36:46
Well, I guess I think it’s having a customer perspective, makes you a better manager. And I mean, that both sort of literally, it sort of a manager is going to be better if they think about the outside customer that you’re trying to sell to, and making sure you’ve got them in mind. But there are lots of other customers. So if you’re a manager, and you’re not the CEO, you’re working for somebody, they’re a customer of your work product. Think about them, as a customer ask the question, do I really know what that customer wants? Because how many times I mean, you’ve got to have seen this many times where somebody has come to you, and you know, they’ve worked really hard at what they’re bringing, and they bring something to you. And you have to say, Oh, my God, no, I mean, that’s not what I wanted. And they’re all disappointed and whatever. But they kind of never asked you enough questions, to figure out what they really needed to do to do something that’s valuable for you, then the people below you, they are a customer of sorts to write, they’ve decided to buy your job, when you think about it. And what did they buy it with? A slice of their life, right? A slice that they can’t get back? The most valuable resource, their most valuable resource. So then you should think about them from a customer standpoint, which is, what are they trying to get from my job that would justify the irretrievable slice of life that they’re providing to me? And you can think about that and say, Well, you know, have I asked them that? Yes, they willingly. That’s where there was an oppressed gang that forced them to this, to do this. But do I really know why salary was an experience? What, you know, kind of what mattered? Was that the identity that they care about what matters to them? And so how can I make that customer of my job? The job I’ve given them kind of happier, more fulfilled, thinking that they’ve got a great value equation, they’ve given a slice of their life, in exchange for what package of stuff? That’s what I tried to do, I always try to think about everybody around me as a customer, and I need to know them, I need to empathize with them, I need to serve them, right? Or if they’re not in my segment, I got to do other things. Right? Because I can’t serve that customer. And that’s why for people who work for me, I tend to really try to be helpful to them in either progressing through working for me, or encouraging them to go work for somebody else, right? If I can’t serve that customer, well, then I would rather have that customer spend the next slice of their life working for somebody else. So that would be my advice. Think of those all as a form of customer relationship and practice the same dark arts for each of them understanding the well empathizing with them. Well, kind of serving them. Well.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 40:08
That’s great advice and great place to end it. Roger, thanks so much for doing this.
Roger Martin (Author) 40:12
It was my pleasure. Thanks for having me.