Launching. Learning. Listening.
While you may not always act at this level, someone in your company had better be!
A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.John A. Shedd
DOING and LEARNING is the heart of the 3rd Level of Entrepreneurial Action: Putting Out Into the Deep. We frame this cycle of value discovery, or as a Learning Engine, with three attributes: launching, learning, and listening.
While 20th Century launches were characterized by big launches, in the 21st Century, “launch” happens with every A/B test, with every effort to explain our value proposition to a prospective customer, with every sale. A modern business is constantly launching so that it can deliver more and better value to its customers. Through that action it is constantly learning about what works and sells, and what doesn’t.
Listening is held out from learning as a separate attribute because the most effective listening is done for understanding and with an empathetic motivation. Which requires a very different approach than the problem-solving and creative effort of turning what’s been experienced and collected into an updated a new “theory of our world” on which subsequent action will be based. Indeed, as your organization grows, it is often handy to have separate individuals focused on “listening” and others responsible for learning. These separate attributes combine to form the basis of the ongoing action at Level 3.
Some Actions To Take
Here are some actions you should take while operating at Level 3:
- Invest in “flywheel” marketing and relationship building
- Every business gets increasing returns from investments in digital content, social media engagement, and email-based communication
- The cost savings of this marketing approach can be important for some businesses
- All businesses, even those who have the budget to spend on advertising, accelerate their customer value delivery with this approach because it forces them to act at Level 3 everyday
- Regularly OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act) to do more of what’s working, less of what’s not, and to try new things too
Some Questions To Ask Yourself
Here are some questions that might help you determine that you need to spend some time Putting Out Into the Deep:
- Do I know my ideal target customers? Like really know them, personally.
- Is the value my customers describe they experience with my product or service the value I intend to provide?
- What did I learn this week about the value of my offering?
- How has that affected the actions I plan to take next week?
Examples to Learn From
Let’s take a look at some Economics for Business resources that may help you take action to answer the call.
In E4B podcast episode 114, Veteran venture capital investor Pete Farner distills experience from four decades of entrepreneurship and investing.
Fundamentally he looks for passion, perseverance, and intelligence in entrepreneurs, and revenue generation and capital efficiency from a business that has deep customer understanding.
In E4B podcast episode 138, Mark McGrath introduces the OODA loop, why it’s necessary in a VUCA world, and how it facilitates achieving results.
OODA: Observe, Orient, Decide, Act
VUCA: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous
In E4B podcast episode 33, Isabel Aneyba shares her empathetic listening techniques and how to use them to understand what’s in your customers’ minds.
Your ability to listen will increase your capacity to learn. Treating them as distinct activities helps you to do each with excellence.
As we continue to develop these Entrepreneurial Action Levels, your feedback, good and ill, is very much appreciated. Please watch the video in full and comment with your thoughts there, on this post, or directly through LinkedIn or the Simbiotrek (sim-bē-‘ä-‘trek) website. I look forward to hearing from you and hope that you found some of the specific questions and actions helpful too.