The Importance of Sensibility and Skills in Business Leadership

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Aug 09, 2023

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The Importance of Sensibility and Skills in Business Leadership

In the vast ocean of business, what sets exceptional leaders apart from the rest? How do they navigate through the unpredictable tides and emerge victorious? These are questions that have intrigued many, and today we will explore the commonalities between two different perspectives on leadership: one from an article by Kengo Kusunoki and another from a piece discussing product/market fit (PMF).

Kusunoki emphasizes the distinction between "managers" and "leaders." He believes that true leaders possess a sensibility that allows them to confront the entirety of a business, steering it towards success with an unwavering confidence. In contrast, managers typically focus on their assigned tasks and responsibilities. The essence of leadership lies in the ability to see the big picture, taking charge of the entire business rather than just a specific role.

Furthermore, Kusunoki highlights the difference between "skills" and "sensibility." While skills can be acquired through textbooks, education, training, and on-the-job experience, sensibility is something innate that cannot be taught. This distinction is crucial because it implies that sensibility cannot be cultivated or developed, making it a unique quality possessed by exceptional leaders. It is the fusion of sensibility and skills that ultimately leads to success in business.

Now, let's shift our focus to the concept of PMF. PMF, or product/market fit, is a critical milestone for startups. It refers to the moment when a product aligns perfectly with a market's needs, resulting in widespread customer satisfaction. Achieving PMF is no easy feat, as it requires a deep understanding of the market and a product that can meet its demands. However, the benefits of PMF are undeniable, as it is the key to sustainable growth and success.

Many entrepreneurs struggle to define and measure PMF accurately. It is often described as a product's resonance with its target customers, who have specific needs that the product satisfies. It is about reaching and converting these customers through effective marketing and sales strategies. In essence, PMF happens when people who know they want your product are genuinely delighted with what you offer.

To gauge PMF, one method is to ask existing users how they would feel if they could no longer use the product. According to experience and analysis of numerous startups, achieving PMF typically requires at least 40% of users expressing that they would be "very disappointed" without the product. While this threshold may seem arbitrary, it has proven to be a reliable indicator of strong traction and success.

So, what can we learn from these two perspectives on leadership and PMF? First and foremost, sensibility plays a crucial role in both aspects. Sensible leaders possess the intuition and foresight to navigate the complex world of business successfully. Similarly, PMF requires an understanding of the market's needs and the ability to resonate with customers.

Additionally, it is essential to acknowledge the significance of skills. While sensibility may be innate, acquiring and developing skills is crucial for leaders and entrepreneurs alike. Continuous learning and improvement are necessary to stay ahead in an ever-evolving business landscape.

Based on these insights, here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Cultivate your sensibility: While sensibility cannot be taught, it can be honed through self-reflection and observation. Take the time to understand your instincts, trust your intuition, and develop a keen sense of awareness in the business world.
  • 2. Invest in skills development: Never stop learning and improving your skills. Take advantage of educational resources, training programs, and mentorship opportunities to enhance your knowledge and expertise. Seek feedback and embrace constructive criticism to refine your abilities continually.
  • 3. Prioritize PMF: If you are a startup founder or entrepreneur, make achieving PMF a top priority. Invest time and effort into understanding your target market, aligning your product with their needs, and ensuring customer satisfaction. Use feedback and metrics to measure your progress towards PMF and make necessary adjustments along the way.

In conclusion, sensibility and skills are two key ingredients for successful leadership and achieving PMF. Sensible leaders possess the innate ability to see the bigger picture and drive the entire business towards success. On the other hand, PMF is the result of aligning a product with a market's needs and delighting customers. By understanding and harnessing these concepts, aspiring leaders and entrepreneurs can pave their way to long-term success.

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