The Four Steps to Learning at Speed

Steve August
April 6, 2021
5 Rules for Rocket Ships

This week I was coaching one of the participants in my recent Ruthlessly Simple Business Planning Boot Camp.

He had hit a block in thinking about how his organization would need to transform to hit his growth and impact objectives.

He has tremendous expertise in his field, a bold vision, and a great product that regularly transforms people’s lives. He is truly great at that.

We had identified that for his company to reach its goals and potential, it would have to become equally good at marketing and sales.

But how do you break down “become world class at marketing and sales” into discreet chunks and quarterly key rocks?

Here are the four steps to do this:

  1. Break down “become world class at marketing and sales” into its key components
  2. Figure out which component should get your attention first
  3. Design and build your Minimum Viable Learning Path (MVLP)
  4. Test, learn, optimize, repeat

These four steps are the key to learning at speed. Let’s dig into this:

Let’s start by applying some Ruthless Simplicity to “become world class at marketing and sales.” To do this, you need to be able to reliably and predictably put $1 of investment in and get $2 (or ideally more) out.

If you break this marketing and sales process down into its simplest components, it goes like this:

  1. Find the right people and get them to you (or you go to them)
  2. Communicate your value and get them to buy/convert
  3. Do so at a price point where $1 gets you $2 or more out

But before you can do this, you have to learn how to do this. And you have to learn at each step.

If you had to pick one of the three steps to start with, step #1 is likely the best because the more swings of the bat you have, the faster you will learn #2 and #3.

But in order to do this, you need to have a way to test through the whole funnel because you need to have a conversion event in order to know if you are getting the right people to you.

The way to think about this is building your Minimum Viable Learning Path (MVLP). People are pretty familiar now with the MVP concept - build your minimum viable product so you can get it to the market and get feedback as early as possible. MVLP is the same in principal, but you can apply it everywhere.

In this instance, our MVLP could also be described as a Minimum Viable Funnel (MVF). That means figuring out the lightest way you can think of to build a funnel and start putting people through it.

You likely won’t get the results you want right off the bat (i.e. 4x Return on spend) because you are learning how to do that, but you’ll have the tools to run your experiments.

The benefit of positioning this exercise as an MVLP is that it focuses you on the right things. In order to learn fast, you need to have a platform for learning.

That’s your ticket to learning at speed.

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Steve August
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