Dan Naden

The Goalkeeper’s Jobs to be Done

As a marketer, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ve have probably been introduced to or are practicing the Jobs to be Done approach to understanding what your target customers are trying to do.

Despite all its recent hoopla, the Jobs to be Done concept was actually introduced nearly two decades ago in Clayton Christensen bellwether book, The Innovator’s Dilemma.

At its core, Jobs to be Done is what a group of people are trying to accomplish in a given situation. If you are developing, selling, or marketing products, it’s helpful to know the desired outcomes of the people you are trying to serve.

Selling a high-end clothes washer? Take some time and write out the desires of your customers. What’s important to them as they think about cleaning clothes?

It’s easy to say clean clothes is the desired outcome of the person in the market for a washer. And you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong in this assumption. For buyers of a high-end washer, however, they may value the image of being identified with a luxury brand. The brand may help its customers identify with being successful, productive and hip. Perhaps this brand features washers which offer edgy, aesthetically-pleasing designs and models. This washer doesn’t just wash clothes well, but it fits into the motif of an urban-chic couple or a young, rising thirty-something executive. Write out the 5 desired outcomes for people washing clothes. Rank them in priority from most important to least important. You might just uncover some messaging and positioning that resonates with the people you are trying to reach.

This jobs to be done exercise can be relevant even for some more obscure, non-traditional situations.

For years, I’ve enjoyed coaching youth soccer goalkeepers. The position isn’t easy and there are few who raise their hand to play the position, and even fewer who desire excellence. So how would Jobs to be Done be leveraged for aspiring goalkeepers?

Here’s the list of all the jobs to be done when a goalkeeper straps on a pair of keeper gloves right before kickoff:

  • Distribute the ball to your teammates with accuracy and precision.
  • Communicate to teammates about defensive alignment
  • Eliminate goal-scoring chances
  • Set up defensive wall for free kicks by the opposition.
  • Command the six and eighteen yard boxes on crosses and corner kicks
  • Keep the ball from crossing the goal line
  • Save as many shots as possible

There are many other jobs to be done that could be listed here. From this ‘partial’ list, there is one jobs to be done that’s top priority: Keep the ball from crossing the goal line. The others are important, but this is BY FAR the most critical job to be done as a goalkeeper.

When keepers train and suit up for games, everything should lead up to this penultimate job. Keep the most important thing THE most important thing. Get better at the fundamentals of the position, but don’t neglect your most important job: keep the ball out of the goal.

Got a problem that needs solving for a customer with many jobs on his or her mind? Use Jobs to be Done to uncover the real truth.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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