Karen Dillon will help you figure out your job. Not your profession – the “job” that your customers are trying to accomplish. “Jobs To Be Done” theory, as described in “Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice” (HarperCollins, October 2016), co-authored by Clay Christensen and Dillon, explains this kind of job: it’s the progress your customer wants to achieve when they’re struggling. It can be small, like bottled iced coffee as a more convenient way to perk up in the morning, or huge, like the almost universal switch from film to digital photography. Dillon, who is also co-author of the best seller “How Will You Measure Your Life?” (HarperCollins, May 2012), identifies the disconnects between the well-intended, but often misguided, corporate efforts and the real reasons customers “hire” products and services.

General Motors’ OnStar technology is a prime example. When it was rolled out, people used it as a general concierge. It could be anything to anyone, as it had no real focus, and people let their subscriptions lapse. Eventually, GM found that those people who maintained their subscriptions did so for one reason: peace of mind while driving. That insight made all the difference: every decision to innovate was filtered through the lens of the peace of mind job to be done. As a result, OnStar has been wildly successful for a very long time. As Dillon says, a job is “almost never about the function itself – it has social components and emotional components.”

Is your product being hired for the right job? Listen to the full podcast for more examples of customer jobs and how companies came to understand the real reasons that customers hired their products. To learn about how Karen can bring her expertise to your organization, contact us.

Karen Dillon is available for paid speaking engagements including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, conference talks, and advisory/consulting services through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.