What promises do you keep ?

What promises do you make in your working life ? 

Do you start with Money, Carbon, Cost, Comfort or simply compliance?

Who do you make them to (senior management or all building users equally), compliance officers, human resources , the union etc etc?

 - and why should they believe you ? !

My friend +William Mougayar recently wrote a post Introducing Product-Value Alignment at Startup Management.org - it taught me a few things and I liked, for example, his definition of a value proposition : 

"the most convincing promise you make to your users, customers, and prospects."

Naturally this applies to energy managers although William writes for entrepreneurs and Venture Capitalists - How so? ... 

The reason is simple - any energy manager is driving change in an existing environment and must operate very much like the manager of a startup company. To achieve change disrupts, and disruption can be a great thing, but change is risky!

So energy managers can be thought of as (and to an extent should be treated like) entrepreneurs, where innovation involves both risk and good rewards for success

Many engineers during their childhood learned from a simple idea:
"If it can be fixed - break it !"

Williams' post is a call to arms for introducing change or disruption to a marketplace. Since energy management is one of the fastest evolving management disciplines there is, it may be helpful to evaluate your role using this framework. And if you think this argument holds water, you might consider sharing it with your colleagues - In short engineers and energy managers often "hide their lights under a bushel" - it is right and appropriate to be proud of energy management !

So on to the ideas of a Value Proposition. I am going to use examples from ours ie kWIQly 's value proposition to illustrate - not because we are energy managers, but because we are not, and I really don't want to tell you how to do your job! 

I want to show how this promise can apply with you on the receiving side. If it works for you, you might consider declaring your promise to your users (nobody else will do it for you). You might prefer to think of this as a mission statement - it isn't so different, but your mission statement is for you, while your promise is owned by (or given to) the people who most wants your mission to succeed - which should be your clients. 

A promise is important because when you give your word, your word (biblically The Truth) -  is the only thing that you can be sure other people will not value until you do !

Alignment
Aligning flows with objectives is the only way to deliver
William explains six aspects of a Value Proposition, these are all about getting benefits flowing or alignment ( as he illustrates with this rather large chunk of pipework )

  1. Identification - who will say “this is for me”
  2. Promise
  3. Differentiation of Benefit – why is your approach or product better, superior?
  4. Price/Effort/Activity - What it will cost, in time, effort or activity
  5. Credibility – how you support your promise so that it’s a believable statement?
  6. Advantage/Outcome - What is the value or transformation for your customer?
Interestingly William chose a pipe (see above) to illustrate and as energy managers this is a no-brainer for us - because it is actually a "pipeline of value" in exchange for reward - consider:
  • Where does the pipe end (does it reach my door) ?
  • What does it deliver (is this what I need is it big enough) ?
  • What is special about that (can I get the same elsewhere cheaper)?
  • How hard is it to connect (spare me the hassle! ) ?
  • How can I be sure it will flow (trust - so do I need backup, what must I add) ?
  • What is it for (is it justified or is it unneeded) AKA - How will it change my world?
Obviously if you cannot answer these - nobody is buying from your "sales pipeline".

On the last point (is it justified) I just love the Henry Ford Quotation

If you need a machine and don’t buy it, then you will ultimately find that you have paid for it and don’t have it.

This I first heard in a mind-blisteringly bright message from Clayton Christensen at Harvard Business School with a great excerpt here http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/7007.html 
this is worth reading but allow yourself a good ten minutes to take it in (it really shows how one of the worlds brilliant minds dissects a business (and personal) issue,


If the truth be known Williams' post spurred me into action, so this is kWIQly's Value Proposition (paraphrased for this blog post), feel free to skim over it - the point is to illustrate the "value proposition checklist" - shown at the bottom that you should then use to review what you write when you do this.

kWIQly value proposition (paraphrased)

Starts__________
kWIQly is for energy managers who are responsible for identifying and implementing energy savings whether in-house or for clients, it is best defined by what it does for energy managers:
  • speeds identification of problems (reading graphs automatically and highlighting only those that matter)
  • differentiating energy use from consumption to define waste (consumption graphs do not do this)
  • maintaining energy performance KPIs targets automatically to set demonstrably achievable but challenging goals, (saving hugely demanding management effort)
  • tracking savings arising from kWIQly recommendations or elsewhere (because the only proof of energy management is "in the pudding")  
kWIQly works because it relies on common sense (implemented with some smart pattern recognition technologies)
Outcomes of our methodology when sponsored by EDF were described in an open letter to British Local Government Officers:

breEDF Energy Customers
  `Savings well above expectation and verified by BRE on behalf of OFGEM'
 kWIQly has also won international awards that acknowledge the technological elegance underlying our tools. (ed referred to elsewhere http://blog.kwiqly.com/2013/06/how-to-save-15-trillion-dollars-thats.html )

Outputs of KWIQly can be used in multiple settings:
  • to make thorough review audit of multiple smaller sites achievable from a cost perspective on a daily basis
  • to quantify and prioritise energy performance opportunities 
  • to achieve ISO 50001 based on appropriate EnPI's that we can identified automatically
  • to examine and make the case for energy management budgets
  • to continually model, evaluate and highlight the difference between consumption arising from justifiable cause and waste which leads directly to actionable savings.
And formatted to suit various needs:
  • Online performance dashboards
  • Shared perfromance leaderboards
  • Automated input into workflow ticketting operations
  • As alarms, alerts via any communication channel
  • As .pdfs either on an on demand basis, automated reporting, or one off ad-hoc evaluation surveys.
  • As chart graphics, calculations and keynotes to support report compilation by consultants

The effect of using kWIQly for the energy manager should literally change the trajectory of their working life. The key changes are effectiveness, competence and credibility, and anyone in a working life who offers improvements in all of these should expect progress,

The benefits of kWIQly for the Energy Manager can be grouped in terms of :
  1. time and resources (automation and travel costs of speculative surveys and budgetary, planning and compliance overheads)
  2. thoroughness (looking at potentially tens of thousands of performance statistics or EnPIs on a daily basis across a portfolio of buildings without taking the time to open each chart)
  3. credibility  (if you arent careful of resources and you aren't thorough you lose credibility) kWIQly helps you dramatically pick up performance and perceived performance across the board. 
Ends___________


So the idea that William is promoting (that having make a public statement about the value you can offer is worthwhile) first depends on you ensuring that it ticks the right boxes or covers the ground (see below).

If it does then you can safely use it to drive your efforts and direction - because if this is what you do and promise to do, you want to deliver on it and make that very clear or quite bluntly - simply not be valued!


Remember - Your value proposition is the single best public representation of how your customers will value the usage of your product. it should be:
  • Compelling
  • Convincing
  • Believable
  • Differentiated
  • Targeted
  • Not risky
  • Concise
  • Clear
  • Not ambiguous
  • Beneficial
  • Advantageous
  • And have an Outcome
If you think Williams ideas could help you as an energy manager or your colleagues please do share it to your facebook or linkedIn profile.


Post dedicated to the success of Williams most recent venture startupmanagement.org 
with thanks!
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