I have been reading. And learning. One of the topics that keeps raised its head is Expectations.
The topic and focus on Expectations started when a friend of mine, David Cooper, suggested that I read, Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore. I mentioned this before in the blog post last week: Marketing Must Establish a Beachhead. If you haven’t had a chance to read that post, I would suggest that you have a quick peak.
Crossing the Chasm
In his book, Moore talks about the various stages that companies go through (see image below), the different types of customers at each stage, and how companies need to change, especially when they are ready to leap across the chasm between Early Adopters and Early Majority.
Here is a quote related to Expectations from Moore’s book, p.27 (underlining is mine):
“Getting closure with visionaries is next to impossible. Expectations derived from dreams simply cannot be met. This is not to devalue the dream, for without it there would be no directing force to drive progress of any sort. What is important is to celebrate continually the tangible and partial as both useful things in their own right and as heralds of the new order to come.
The most important principle stemming from all this is the emphasis on management of expectations. Because controlling expectations is so crucial, the only practical way to do business with visionaries is through a small, top-level direct sales force. “
This is Brilliant. Moore captures the essence of establishing and adjusting Expectations with a visionary client. Lots for me to learn.
The Alpha Strategies
Then another friend, Joanne O’Connell, sent me a copy of The Alpha Strategies by Alan Kennedy. Again one of the topics that arises is Expectations.
Kennedy’s framework is all about business strategy and choosing the right strategy as your lead strategy. Here is a list of the eight primary strategies:
All eight strategies are critical for a business but only one strategy can be the Alpha strategy. The rest are Influencers (only 2-3) and finally, Enablers (the left overs).
Here is how this works for Ford. The Alpha strategy is Manufacturing. The Influencer strategies are Financial Management, Marketing, and R&D Technology. The Enabler strategies are Growth, Organization Management, Risk, and Business Definition.
Here is a quote about Expectations from Kennedy’s book, p.71 (underlining is mine):
All strategy implementation is driven by expectations created and imposed by the strategic plan on all subsequent strategy development. If those imposed expectations are clearly articulated, then strategy implementation can take its direction from those expectations and stays aligned with the intent of the strategic plan.
Therefore, we think business plan strategy development is founded on identification and prioritization of expectations imposed on the business planner.
Once the expectations have been identified and prioritized, then the business planner can test the most important expectations (imposed priorities) against the business planner’s external reality. In this way, the imposed expectations inform the business planner on what the priorities are to be and the external reality check allows development of strategy consistent with and tailored to that reality.”
Draft of Expectations
My conclusion with all this reading (and learning) is that I need to bring up the topic of Expectations with our clients on a regular basis.
Here’s my first draft for discussion. What do you think?