Perpetually Evolving

SaaS products are never “done.” They are always evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of their customers.

In fact, that’s one of the key value propositions of SaaS…your customers pay a subscription fee and not only get the product as it is today but also reap the benefits of ongoing enhancements and innovation.

Simply stated, what was good enough yesterday won’t be tomorrow, so your product must change to meet the future requirements of your customers.

This is equally true on two other fronts: our companies and each of us as individuals.

First, you must think of your company as a product. Jason Fried discussed this concept at “The Basecamp Way to Work Workshop” at their Chicago headquarters a couple years ago, and I was reminded of his comments as I’m currently reading his latest book: It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work.

“When you start to think about your company as a product, all sorts of new possibilities for improvement emerge. When you realize the way you work is malleable, you can start molding something new, something better.”

I couldn’t agree more, and I always thought of my previous company this way. Defining, maintaining and continuously evolving the organization is the single biggest thing I spent my “think time” on over the past 15 years. I loosely refer to this simply as culture. It’s how we work, how we communicate, and how we’re organized. And it’s always changing.

The fundamentals basically remain the same, but you must adapt the approaches.

Date the model, but marry the mission.” (Andy Stanley)

Secondly, it’s critical to have a similar mindset for each of us individually as leaders…to be continuous learners.

How should I work differently as my roles evolve? (not just in business, but in life) Where should I focus my attention to drive our company forward in the right way? How do I effectively spend my most precious resource (time) to drive the greatest impact? How do I create a personal “framework” that takes into account my family, friends, wellness and faith?

“Anyone who dreams of an uncommon life eventually discovers there is no choice but to seek an uncommon approach to living it.” (The ONE Thing)

Then once you’ve made progress on your own evolution, think of others with whom you can share your learnings and approaches.

I’ve been digging into this for myself, but also sharing my perspectives with (as well as learning from) a group of young software and startup leaders over some early morning O’Henry’s coffee once a month. So far we’ve used Great at Work, Essentialism, The ONE Thing and It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work as the instigators of our discussions.

Beyond these coffee discussions, I’ve always been a believer in the power of “think time,” and in 2019, I’ve committed to dedicating quarterly 48-hour blocks of seclusion to think through the most important aspects of our business, as well as being more disciplined about time blocking on a daily basis.

I can already feel the difference.

Remember, you can’t evolve as a leader if you don’t give yourself time to do so. Being buried in your inbox reacting to other people’s priorities and spending countless hours in inefficient meetings won’t deliver the impact and progress you desire.

Be as deliberate about the perpetual evolution of your company and yourself as you are about your SaaS product. The payoff will be massive.

Focus on Focus