The important thing about strategic thinking is its ability to help people see things differently, and from there, to arrive at the right decision every time. Yet we all know the concept, “garbage in, garbage out”. If you don’t have any good options, you will never get at the best outcome, no matter how great the process is. In this article, I share with you three of my favourite frame-shifting techniques that Jeanne Liedtka taught.
Jeanne offers seven reframing techniques, all of which guide you to reframing your perspectives, and uncover a different, even better, option. These need to feed into your decision process to finally arrive at the right decision. You can read all about the seven techniques in the related post. In this article, I would like to share the three that I use most, and hope that they too can help you get better options.
I like to use the story of Montblanc and how they have dove deep to uncover a truly unique value proposition for the simple writing instrument. After all, a typical Bic, which costs $2, can do everything a Montblanc pen that costs a minimum of $500 does. How does Montblanc achieve this? By accentuating its value not as a writing instrument, but as a luxury good. By positioning itself as a symbol of “having arrived”, Montblanc has uncovered a truly unique value proposition that no other writing instrument company has, and neither should they. If you find that you are swimming with the sharks in a sea of cut-throat me-toos, dive deeper, establish a truly unique value proposition, and then own that space.
I truly appreciate this technique because it helps us enlarge the pie instead of simply competing at the same level. By seeing what other complementary services we can provide en route to, and immediately after, enjoying our product, we increase the usefulness of our service, and thereby enlarging our customer base. For example, the iPhone came by this way when Apple engineers saw the adjacent product, the mobile phone, as a threat to their legendary iPod. So rather than to wait for Nokia to stick a music player into their phone, Apple decided to do just the opposite, and stuck a phone into their music player. And thus was born the iPhone, and the rest is history!
Creating an unbeatable customer experience, that is what Starbucking is all about. Starbucks grew phenomenally because it took the simple morning coffee, and turned it into an experience. Suddenly, coffee is not simply a breakfast beverage, but one for all times, seasons and reasons. By creating the coffee lounge concept, Starbucks created the demand for a coffee lifestyle, prying away $7 to $10 per cup of beverage that costs less than $0.50 to make. Customer experience is a great way to increase the value of your service, and a means of sustainable, organic growth.
Identify your own favourites
These are my favourites of the seven, but I don’t use them exclusively. By mentally going down the seven techniques quickly, I know which ones can help, and from there I dive deeper in using them. Invariably, I find that these three give me the highest number of creative ideas. But don’t take my word for it, try all seven for yourself and identify your own favourites.