You have one job

You have one job

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“Instead of bringing back 1600 plants, we might return from our journeys with a collection of small unfêted but life-enhancing thoughts.”

Alain de Botton

Travel always reveals… something. A recent trip reminded me of the importance of getting the essential things right. 

No matter what your business does. There is one thing that is the job. Call it a baseline or minimum viable product. But getting it right can hugely improve people’s overall experience and how value accumulates in your brand.

While on the road around Tasmania, we moved every night or two, sleeping in many different beds. When I think about accommodation, it’s mostly buying a place to sleep.

So, whether you’re a hotel, cabin or serviced apartment you have one job—provide a comfortable bed. Everything else is an add on (clean should go without saying).

I felt like Goldilocks searching for something ‘just right’. Over nearly two weeks, it happened once. And I’m super grateful to Heidi on Tasmania’s east coast for her choice of mattress. 

Other beds were a variation of board-like, lumpy or needing a chiropractor to fix my shoulder.

You have one job.

My restless uncomfortable nights got me thinking about how little organisations attend to the basics. The experience economy has shifted focus to supposedly delightful extras. But they’re wasted when the main thing I pay for is lacking.

I wonder how many people who run the different places we stayed had ever slept on one of their beds? Probably not many. There’s no excuse for deliberate discomfort when the #1 rated mattress in Australia costs around $800. A semi-tolerable place to catch some zzzz should be a non-negotiable part of the ‘accommodation’ product. As essential as clean sheets and towels to the next guests.

You have one job.

Every organisation—for purpose, profit or non-profit, has one job to get right before anything else matters. Whether you’re a bank that’s a safe place for my money. A car to get me from A to B. Or a cafe serving my morning cup of coffee.

Sure, there’s other stuff on the list organisations can and usually will need to do. But none of it matters if they fail at the one job. If my money isn’t there when I want it. If my car breaks down. If the cafe’s coffee is undrinkable.

Do you know your one job?

Figuring it out might mean peeling layers of process and dismantling the delight mafia. Both which obscure and inflate what should be a simple truth.

One way to get below your hype is to ask what people are buying and keep asking til you get past what the product obviously is. The marketing adage ‘people aren’t buying a drill, they’re buying a hole in the wall’ is a helpful frame that can help your thinking. Complete that sentence for your product or service.

People aren’t buying x. They are buying y. 
Where x is your product (or service) and y is the problem it solves.

Then, find out how you’re doing delivering it. Be a customer of your organisation. Buy your product. Look hard at that one job. See how you do. Or better hire secret shoppers. There’s a reason big retailers pay people to check things out.

You have one job.

Once you get that right, then think about the rest.

See you next time,

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