Got a minimum viable team leadership strategy? Let’s take a page out of lean startup methodology. The term “minimum viable product” was created by Frank Robinson and popularized by Eric Ries and Steve Blank.
Ries, in The Lean Startup, defined a minimum viable product (MVP) as “that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”
For those of us working with startups, this MVP concept keeps our startup teams from boiling the ocean engineering the perfect mousetrap and launching. It’s better to obtain tons of user feedback at each product development phase. This MVP strategy allows your team to be nimble and agile as you and your team build, measure, learn and reiterate with improvements.
This end user feedback loop includes assessment of your ability to lead the team as well. How realistic are you? How in touch with your customers are you?
The same holds true for minimum viable team leadership strategy in established companies.
Management, teams, users, and investors buy into your team leadership strategy. They buy into your team’s receptivity to being coached. They buy your team’s ability to receive and respond to feedback focused on how to work together more productively and profitably. They invest in your team’s vision about the scalability of your company and the potential for expansion and sustainability, including exit.
Developing a minimum viable team leadership strategy is a “get real” moment.
First, you and your team realize you are more comfortable tinkering, doing and managing than you are leading. Then, you realize that developing a minimum viable team leadership strategy is more than talking the swagger talk full of passion and startup buzz words. Finally, you and your team acknowledge that leadership is about understanding how money walks through your own company, your investors’ companies and your customers’ companies.
Developing a minimum viable team leadership strategy is about investment. Ponder the value of incorporating the smallest changes into your team leadership portfolio. Consider how those small changes result in the largest return in investment for your team, your company, your investors and your end users.
What is the smallest viable investment you need to make in your team to overcome your perceived shortcomings in business competence? Are there skills you must master? Is there bias and baggage you must collectively address and move beyond?
A minimum viable team leadership strategy makes you more agile and adept at rapidly cycling through your team’s version of build, measure, learn.
These changes are additive. They become part of your team leadership DNA. That’s what people buy into, over the long haul. Your strategy impacts the sustainability of your organization.
Babette Ten Haken started out her career as a scientist. Early on, she was asked to bring clarity to the chaos of stalemated conversations between engineers, sales, IT, quality, legal and marketing folks. She focuses on building collaborative, innovative and profitable teams who are focused on excellence in the hand-off of strategy for execution. Her Playbook on leadership and business strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.
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