In his Harvard Business Review post "Getting to the Land of Must-Haveness, Faster," author Anthony Tjan is talking about making your company's product a must-have. Not a "nice to have" or a "good to have," but a "must have." He writes:
It is not a new or fancy framework for analyzing your value proposition, but it has incredible power and truth - the more "must have" you are in the eyes of your customer and end-user, the greater your probability for success.
Being a blogger on IT careers, though, I was thinking about making yourself a "must-have" for your company. That was certainly an issue during all the layoffs during the recession, but remains so for IT departments in an age of continued outsourcing. Try thinking about Tjan's advice that way:
- Strive manically to understand your customers and end-users. "... figure out which ones she cares about most and focus on defending, messaging and improving those." That could be your boss AND your customers. Delighting your customers surely will raise your worth in the boss's eyes.
- Rapidly prototype. IT pros especially are continually having to reinvent themselves with more training and the latest big thing. (Can you say cloud computing?) Focusing on the business's needs can help you get the job initially and continue to boost your value to the company over time.
- Get the right metrics-so that you know if you are winning the race to the land of must-haveness. While IT managers like to measure everything, Tjan warns that there are too many metrics. You need to find the ones that matter most. My colleague Ann All wrote about Sprint's efforts to improve its call centers, in which it focused on the behaviors that lead to improvement. She quotes a Sprint exec saying, "Our experience showed us that when you focus on the behaviors, the metrics will come."