Beehives amaze me. They scare me – but they amaze me. They are a remarkably efficient organization, and one we can model our own businesses after. In the video below, I talk about each bees’ primary role as well as the role that ensures the success of the hive; the Queen Bee Role. (Before you keep reading – did you watch the video??) Note that what’s important is not the queen bee herself, but the role she fulfills. This role is essential to fulfill the big promise of delivering honey.
Fascinating lesson on bees, Tena, but how does that apply to me? I’m so glad you asked, and I’ll be happy to show you how it works on a real live business – an online art dealership.
The first step – always – is to determine your “Big Promise”. This is the WHY we do what we do for our customer. The reason they come to you, and not to a competitor. The art dealership’s Big Promise is “museum-quality original artwork at a Hobby Lobby price.”
The second step is to list all the activities in your company that support this primary role. List them as actions and singular. By the way, it’s really fun to write one activity per post it note and remove the note. Make a paper airplane out of it.
For the art dealer, these might be:
- Maintain an attractive website
- Ship products quickly and inexpensively
- Staff a designer to answer client questions
- Source talented and cheap artists
- Hire and train customer service associates
- Advertise on Social Media
Then, I frustrated the owner and told him he can only do four of the activities, and he had to remove two. After cursing me in a foreign language, he decided he could remove #2 and #6.
Next, of course, he had to remove two more. This time he cursed me in English and swore up and down he couldn’t possibly deliver on his big promise without all four. But I made him do it anyway, and he removed #5 and #3, and we discussed ways he could elevate the two remaining so that the loss of the other four wasn’t missed. (In case you’re starting to worry about me, let me assure you – I’m not saying you will really not be able to do all of these, only that all of them aren’t of equal importance. We’re simply getting to the REALLY BIG Primary Role he must do to deliver on his Big Promise.)
Now he is left with:
- Maintain an attractive website
- Source talented and cheap artists.
The last task was to choose which one he wanted to keep; being intentional about his Big Promise of delivering museum-quality original artwork at a Hobby Lobby price. An attractive website is very important, and will definitely make selling the artwork easier – but is it essential to the survival of the business? Eventually we agreed that sourcing talented and cheap artists was the REALLY BIG Primary Role of his online business.
He can add back any (or all) of the other activities with the understanding that any (or all) of those roles must be sacrificed in order to have a strong supply of talented and inexpensive artists – like the bees that followed the car, his team will follow the artists.
Now the team can spend time talking about what it looks like to fulfill that role. What does it look like when it is not being protected and served? Come up with specific examples of the business protecting and serving and not protecting and serving this REALLY BIG Primary Role. Document these and share often with the team!
Download our template and walk through this exercise with your team. Let us know what your Queen Bee Role is and how you serve it!
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