Learning Jobs To Be Done

Series 1: Episode 9 | 3 May 2022

Show notes | Transcript

While a lot of people tell us that they want to learn ‘Jobs To Be Done,’ this often leaves us with a tough question to answer—to what extent do they want to delve into the process?

In today’s episode of the Circuit Breaker Show, Bob and Greg delve into some of the challenges they see people facing when trying to learn ‘Jobs To Be Done’ and some of the arguments this has raised between them.

  • You’ll discover what they think learning ‘Jobs To Be Done’ will take vs. what most people believe and why there’s often a discrepancy between the two.
  • You’ll discover why learning ‘Jobs To Be Done’ is often a big ask for most entrepreneurs.
  • You’ll learn why Greg and Bob often argue about the best approach to help their clients learn Jobs To Be Done.

Join us for this timely discussion about figuring out Jobs To Be Done (JTBD).

Enjoy!

What You’ll Learn in this Show:

  • What exactly does it take to learn ‘Jobs to be Done, and is it possible to master the framework?
  • Why learning Jobs To be Done can never be one-size-fits-all.
  • The difference between how to do ‘Jobs To Be Done’ and how to use it and why most people need the latter.
  • Some of the struggles Greg and Bob have to deal with when guiding their clients through the process of learning Jobs To Be Done.
  • Why it’s essential to embrace discourse in the workplace.
  • And so much more…

Resources:

Demand-Side Sales 101
Jobs To Be Done

Hosts

Greg Engle
Whether you’re telling me I can’t sell the way I sell, or you’re telling me, I can’t do this. That’s not what we’re talking about, what we’re trying to talk about is, can we get to what people really want and value, can I understand their context enough to develop something to meet their needs?

Bob Moesta
Welcome to the circuit breaker podcast where we challenge the status quo of innovation and new product development. We’ll talk about tools and skills and methodologies used to build better products and make you a better consumer. I’m Bob Moesta, the co-founder of the Re-Wired group, I’m one of your co-hosts and we’re joined by Greg Engel, who is my co-founder and chief Bob interpreter. Join us as we trip the circuit, and give you time to reset, reorganize and recharge your brain to build better products.

Greg Engle
In this episode, Bob and I are going to tackle a real-life problem that we have at the rewired group all the time, you’re going to hear an argument, it won’t be pretty at times, I’m sure it’s going to be quite adversarial at times. But this is what innovation is, this is how you really have to talk about your problems and with no holds barred, and not take it personally and really unpack what you’re trying to accomplish. 

On today’s episode, we’re going to talk about learning and what does it mean to learn jobs to be done? And what do people really mean by that? When people say they want to do that? Do we have to tell them? What is our responsibility to them? What learning is? Or is not? What are those types of things? Buckle your seat belt and get ready for the ride of a lifetime. This will be interesting. 

Bob, today, we want to talk about what to tackle the problem or struggle that we have all the time at the rewired group. It’s this notion of learning, we argue about it all the time – what is learning? You’ll often tell me, you have too high of a standard of learning and you think my standard of learning is too low. What I say to that is my definition and your definition are irrelevant, it’s the definition of the person buying is what’s relevant in this struggle, often get in arguments about that.

Bob Moesta
Well, I think part of it is, I got a text today, it says, ‘Hey, how are things? Wondering if the rewired group is still doing jobs to be done interview trainings? I have a new team and love to get them up to speed.’ That is what triggered this entire conversation, because at some point most people just want to say, ‘How much is the course? How long is it? Can we just take it? Can we learn the process?’. It gets back to your point, what do people want? They feel half the time their magic winding, well in two hours, I want to learn everything and be a master at it. 

We both know that’s not possible, that’s where we argue. Do we help them down the path and give them smaller steps of progress to getting to master it or getting to know it? Or do we help them understand the expectation of if you want to master it, let me show you the PhD to know how to dive deep into it. At some point, the progress that they want and the time that they want to commit or the lack of time they want to commit to learn the process and the steps as opposed to be told that knowledge is actually learning, that is where we always end up arguing.

Greg Engle
I think the argument is different than that. I think the argument is not learning it’s more of what do people really want. How do we do that? We struggle with the same thing everybody struggles with is we want to say yes to everybody as well. When people call and say ‘Hey, I want to learn it’, we want to say yes, but we don’t even know what that means to say yes. Because if we don’t unpack what they want, or what their expectation is, that’s going to lead to dissatisfaction. 

Bob Moesta
That’s right, and that creating value for that and creating value for us.

Greg Engle
Once you say yes, and you do that you either under engineer or over engineer the product. That’s where the arguments end up happening. We struggle with that all the time here quite frankly because everybody says they want to learn it. 

Bob Moesta
Yep. 

Greg Engle
When you start unpacking what learn it means.

Bob Moesta
To everybody it’s different. 

Greg Engle
And when we’ve done interviews in different spaces, and learning can range anywhere from I need the language, so I don’t look stupid to I need to do this needs to be my profession. This is on my PIP and I need to do it.

Bob Moesta
Yep. Versus I want to be able to add this to my quiver so that I can get a new job

Greg Engle
That’s close to the other one, which is I don’t want to get left behind. You have, ‘Hey I just need language’ to ‘This is interesting, I want to know more about it’ to ‘I have to do something with it’ That’s the gamut that we have to run, the problem we often have at the is everybody says they want to learn it. 

Bob Moesta
To what degree

Greg Engle
In fact, sometimes, we force them to say that, then when they don’t learn it, because going through it one time, with the nuances, because there’s several different parts of jobs. Some people might understand the first part of it.

Bob Moesta
The mechanics

Greg Engle
To break it down simpler, which is the screening and recruiting, or interviewing, or they’ll break it up into these little parts. But to understand jobs be done, the way we think of it is you have to be able to use it.

Bob Moesta
That’s right. There’s the difference between learning how to do it, and then learning how to use it in terms of the output of it to shape product and, or marketing and everything else.

Greg Engle
Our arguments often go to, Bob will say ‘you’re telling me I can’t sell the way I sell’ or ‘you’re telling me I can’t do this’. That’s not what we’re talking about, what we’re really trying to talk about is, can we get people that they want and what value can I get? Can I understand their context enough to develop something to meet their needs? And if they choose the wrong thing that’s on them, not on us?

Bob Moesta
Yep. Well, that’s where I use contrast to create meaning, how do we give them two or three different ways in which to think about it, as opposed to one. What happens is that they have a training hat on and learning how ‘I just need to see the process, I need to see the steps, I need to, and I’ll know it’. The fact is that there’s one thing, we always separate the difference between knowing how to get the information to frame the jobs, and once I have the jobs, how do I use it to help me write better copy? How do I help frame features? 

How to actually go do development? We always get caught up between when you ask people what they want, there’s this shallow part of ‘I want to know the mechanics, I want to know the steps, I want to know the details of learning it like it’s a class’ as opposed to ‘I want to learn how to build a better product’.

Greg Engle
I don’t even think they unpack that a lot of times.

Bob Moesta
We try.

Greg Engle
I think it’s more of, ‘Hey, I want to learn it’ Then they put their parameters on their time, their effort, a lot of times, unfortunately it’s ‘I want to put the least amount of time and effort into something, but I want to learn how to do it.’ 

Bob Moesta
There’s the other part is that we as learners overestimate or underestimate what it really is going to take to learn something. This is the thing, when we look back at people who have truly learned jobs and incorporated into their lives and been able to use it as a foundation for their development process. It takes years.

Greg Engle
I’m going to put you on the spot. 

Bob Moesta
Okay.

Greg Engle
You can choose not to answer the question just like I tell everybody in the interview You could plead the fifth and it’s completely okay. How many people that we know, have true mastery of jobs to be done in the way that we would say mastery, which we generally define is understanding how the mechanics work, understanding how to find demand, then being able to look at your supply, understand the deficiencies between supply and demand and build a product, 

Bob Moesta
I would put less than 20. There are good researchers who can get to the jobs, but don’t then know how to actually go build product with it or write copy with it. There are very few people who have taken the time to learn and hone and refine the skill, like a crafts person. To me, this is one of those things where we’ve been doing it so long that one, we make it look easy and two is the fact most people assume they know ‘when I have the jobs, I know what to do’. The reality is what jobs do is they bound the problem and the space that you’re going to go innovate within, but it doesn’t give you the answer, it gives you the way in which to get to the answer.

Greg Engle
I think the thing we often argue about though is – how do we help people make sure they’re picking the right thing? Because if someone says ‘Hey, I’m going to take a masterclass from ABC, it’s two hours’ What’s their expectation? We have no idea.

Bob Moesta
That’s right. As much as we’ve tried to set expectations, the fact is, where you and I’ve worked on; How do we understand where they sit? How much do they know about jobs? Have they done it before? We know the reasons why people hire us in terms of those training format. As much as we do that, the fact is, it’s very hard to get people to differentiate or say, no, I can’t figure this out in two hours. 

This is where I don’t think it’s unique to us, I think the fact is in general, most people, the training and education business has been modularized down to small increments, and that we can teach people smaller portions of it. But the fact is, this is a method that has a lot of thinking and a lot of foundational pieces in it, that don’t lend it to being able to be learning addition or learning multiplication, its complex problem solving. You’ve got to know people, understand the causality, be able to use contrast, be able to have interviewing technique, it’s a very complicated thing. Once you have it as a skill, it’s one of those things that’s very powerful. There are people who have learned a little of it or some of it, and they become very powerful. 

Greg Engle
Yeah 

Bob Moesta
We’re not saying we have a high standard of it if you want to master it, there’s 20 people in the world who know it. There are probably a 1000 people in the world who are using it every day. That are making a difference, but they don’t know all of it. They don’t know exactly how to use every piece of it.

Greg Engle
Yes. They don’t breathe and live it as much as we do. When we have the advantage of this is what we do well, but the problem really comes down to, if we keep telling people they can learn it, in a short period of time, are we going to kill the methodology?

Bob Moesta
That’s my fear. Because it’s a point in time, I appreciate the fact, but if they tell them they can’t learn it, they’re not even going to try and if I tell them, you got to get this psychology background, you’ve got to get this engineering background, you’ve got to get all these different pieces in place before I can teach it to you is like the prerequisites are so large that it’s going to die anyways. Part of this is to realize it’s a very powerful method, like Taguchi method is a very powerful method. It requires a lot of moving parts, and you have to have some dedication to learning the moving parts in order to make it. I feel like the attention span of developers is getting less and less.

Greg Engle
The thing we also talk about a lot is getting to the demand is something that not every company needs to bring in house. Because once you have two or three core things you do once you get those jobs, if you’re looking at it every day, you’re probably getting 20 samples and you’re not doing actual work. But you go back to it every three or five years, or whatever cadence you want to do, so the real thing you have to learn is how to use it. 

Bob Moesta
That’s right. 

Greg Engle
There are actually less things you have to learn on that side of the equation. The hard part for most people of learning jobs to be done is the whole problem of getting out of my own paradigm, getting out of my demand side thinking, knowing all the things that I do. If we eliminate that part of it and say, there’s 20, 30, 100, 1000 however many people we need to service the marketplace, that really understand the front part of the demand side uncovering, and we can get more companies to consume the ‘how do they change behavior? How do they change the paradigm to say, ‘we think we’re consumer centric, because we just put our demand or supply side language in a consumer language and think we’re the sandwich not the mustard’. We allow them to think that way, if we change their mindset and say, ‘No if you take this input, and then take your supply side input, use the three circles of development, and then actually use this the correct way, it’s actually easier lift’. But we often think and I think that rewired was developed on the premise of getting more people to do more interviews.

Bob Moesta
I think the premise was and this is where I would disagree about interviews. It’s always been about helping people understand how to uncover what people are struggling with, where they want to go and what we can go build. Helping people develop better product, so one of the things that I say all the time is, in the end the first rule of jobs is not to talk about jobs, is to talk about the customer and the demand side of the world and see what it is. In the first half of the lift is really getting them out of the way of the supply side to see the demand side and to see how people really struggle and make progress. 

The second part of the lift is and how do we translate that view into helping us write better copies and develop better features into understanding strategic, clarity and where we want to go? Where do we do acquisitions? all those kinds of things come from jobs. But to your point, not everybody needs to know how to do it, a lot of people have to know how to use it, that’s where I think we need to spend more time helping people understand how to use it, as opposed to just teaching them how to do it.

Greg Engle
I don’t want to be the Debbie downer here and just say all negative stuff, because I don’t think it is all negative. I think there’s plenty of people that have used it. There’s a pattern that emerges to me, people that can use it on the light side, I mean light as in a light lift, not light as in the sun. If you have all the decision-making rights, then being able to do the interviews, understanding demand, hearing your customers in a different way is valuable to you and you can make a lot of progress.

Bob Moesta
That’s why it works very well in the entrepreneurial situation, because it’s very small teams, very focused on what they must do. To be honest, it allows them to stay focused, but when it’s bigger teams, it’s different.

Greg Engle
The people that are able to use it in that light way, again, is people that are using it for a specific thing. If you’re not trying to look at the market as a whole, and you’re looking at marketing ideas, different things or sales. I may not need the whole job to be done because all the elements of the job help many different people do their jobs. 

Bob Moesta
That’s correct. 

Greg Engle
So if I’m only looking for the one thing or one function, and I’m in my silo doing that, then sometimes the lighter version of jobs works. I don’t want to discourage people from learning, because I think it’s a valuable tool in a lot of things, I just don’t want us to be the culprit of telling everybody it’s super easy to learn, then people going through it and going well, I can’t do what you guys just did have a full-time job.

Bob Moesta
That’s the conversation we just had is like at some point there’s people thinking they can learn it. It’s a built-in bigger part of their job. They’re like I could never learn these skills because I can’t learn all these things to be able to do that. You and I wrote the book demand side sales, with the aspect of developing product, we need greater detail because we have to understand causation. But if we have the jobs, it helps us tremendously on the sales side, it helps us tremendously on the marketing side. But at some point, in time to know how to do the process, to have those conversations, to have the paradigm shift from ‘I’m looking at consumers through my product’ to ‘looking at consumers in their life’. 

You start to realize how you fit into it, it’s humbling, but at the same time, is it’s very powerful. Part of this is to realize, when people come to us and ask, ‘I want to learn it’, this is where we almost go ‘Now we have to have a serious conversation. What does learned mean? What do you really want to do? What can’t you do now?’ We do a job interview on them to understand the progress they’re truly trying to make. What happens is, they’re not prepared to make the tradeoffs required to make the progress they want. They’re thinking a two-hour class is going to help them reinvent the entire way they do their copy and do their work, that’s just not realistic. It’s not just the money or the knowledge, it’s the time, we talk about it as more about teaching people through a trade and basically being able to practice, it’s a trade school. Intellectually, I think it’s fairly simple to learn the concepts, but very hard to do it. 

Greg Engle
Yeah, the only way I know to create mastery is the apprentice program, learning at multiple times, the immersion into it? For most people, that’s not where they need to go, so we have to figure out the right things. A lot of times we go to the very low end, and think that’s going to satisfy everybody, then we go to the high end, but it’s this messy middle, we have to figure out. It’s the people that maybe don’t have all this decision rights to do things so the lite version doesn’t work as well but don’t need the mastery either. How do we help them make progress? We default, we think it’s so valuable, we think it’s so powerful, everybody should be like us and that’s just not true most of time. 

Bob Moesta
That’s right. When we reflect on people like Katherine Thompson, who works with us, within 12 / 14 months, 22 projects.

Greg Engle
She’s been here for two years and wasn’t exposed for it for three and a half. 

Bob Moesta
So we can argue about that, because part of it is that she might have learned about it when she was in her old job, but she had no bandwidth to actually absorb it.

Greg Engle
That’s part of our argument all the time, people say they want to learn it, and we say sure you’ll learn it, you’re going to learn it with us, but they have full time jobs. 

Bob Moesta
That’s right, our full-time job is building stuff, and this is a tool we use in that. I don’t want to confuse that, our full-time job is not jobs, our full-time job is helping people innovate and using a whole bunch of tools besides just jobs to be done. 

Greg Engle
Yeah. 

Bob Moesta
This is one of our tools. It’s the wrench, it’s the hammer, but the fact is the hammer doesn’t work in every situation. Part of it is to realize like your point, we have software we’ve been building that’s going to help automate a little bit of the collection of the data and some of the analysis, but the bigger part is now that they have the jobs, we have to help people use the jobs more. To be honest the training that you and I have been arguing about is that we’ve been focusing on the mechanics of it for almost five, six years. We have several classes on the mechanics of it, we now have some software that will help make that a little bit easier for people to learn the mechanics of it. But ultimately, we must get people to then utilize that as strategic input to how they develop product, how they write, copy, how they sell, how they strategy, because all those things play a role.

Greg Engle
Yes. We’re up on our time, I know this was a fast-paced argument back and forth. It really wasn’t that that heated, but you get the sense of we struggle with the same things a lot of us struggle with. It’s about talking them through and trying to figure out the right things to do and how do you tackle some things and prototyping ideas. We prototype a lot, every proposal we send out is trying to improve on what we’ve learned and in figuring those things out. Then eventually come up with some training things but the trick is, once we do come up with the trainings that we’re talking about, how do we help people select the right one, that’s the real trick to what we’re trying to do. 

The key takeaways we want you to take out of this one is, don’t be afraid to talk things out, don’t be afraid of stepping on each other’s toes, you have to have this real life talk with people to really figure out where your differences are. Because if we just left it unpacked, it would be Bob thinks that I have a high standard of learning and he thinks his standard is lower. That would be the argument, but that’s not the argument at all because it doesn’t matter what our definitions are, what matters is what the people want in the process and who we’re trying to service and trying to service everybody is probably not the right thing, much like it is for your products. So again, thank you for your time, and we appreciate you listening, and hope to hear you soon.

Bob Moesta
Thanks for listening to the circuit breaker podcast. If you haven’t already, please subscribe so you won’t miss an episode. If you know somebody who’s stuck on the innovation treadmill, please share it. If you’d like to learn more information visit us at Xcel rewired group.com To find out how we work how we can help some resources, some books some software. Join us next time as we trip the circuit breaker to help you recharge, re-energize, and refocus your new product development.

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