May 10, 2022

When the effort to return ratio is this high, double down


In any given enterprise, there are certain levers that will have a disproportionate impact on your odds of success.

You can use them to create the most asymmetry in the work that you do, proving an exceptional return on investment.

Here’s a case study about this principle from one of the startups I worked at.

Our challenge was, there was an enormous amount of goodwill that we weren’t capturing to use for brand assets, marketing materials and sales tools. We had all these power users of our software who sang our praises, but never on record.

And so, we decided to call in some favors. We asked ten longtime users for fifteen minutes of their time. On camera. We did all the upfront work and make it painless for them, where they didn’t have to prepare a thing, just answer a few questions and share their story. Then we cut the footage into short, beautifully designed, persuasive chunks and used them across all platforms to elevate our credibility.

The whole project took about two months to execute. And we found that this new voice of the customer program was a powerful source of brand leverage. One we couldn’t earn any other way.

Within weeks, we were already getting a disproportionate amount of credit simply by having them, in terms of inbound traffic and new business opportunities. That’s when our general manager stepped and gave us the following advice.

When our effort to return ratio is this high, we have to double down. Let’s leverage that capability so the brand could get more credit than it should have.

And that’s exactly what we did. More interviews, more footage, more power. That was our moment of asymmetry.

Where in your organization is effort disproportionate to the value you get in return? Where could your team put in a little and get out a lot?

Those are the key leverage questions you have to ask. It takes some digging, some trial and error, and you have to map people’s abilities against what the marketplace actually wants.

But if you can get this thing right, it’s amazing what kind of impact it can have on the organization.

Hell, even if it’s only one person. You don’t need an entire company to build leverage. Anyone can have a disproportionate impact on their odds of success.

It’s all about finding the lever.

Archimedes was able to move the world with it, and there’s no reason you can’t do the same.

How can you create the most asymmetry in the work that you do?