The problem appeared simple. I joined Timetrade in February as EVP and COO and wanted to really upgrade our approach to the market. We were getting ready to introduce our Workgroup Scheduler online appointment setter, a great iPhone application, and a brand new Appointment Cloud SaaS initiative. All new ideas for our team, especially around the focus for my Inbound Sales positioning.
Sounds like a no-brainer turn-the-crank marketing exercise. Well, not exactly. I wanted to change the way we thought about and approached our market. At the time I happened to be re-reading Dan Coyle’s excellent book “The Talent Code”. Both Dan and Malcolm Gladwell who wrote the outliers say the same thing. It takes an individual 10,000 hours of practice and experience to be a world-class expert at something.
What about our marketing and sales team ? How long will it take them to become experts at our new strategy ? Well, we’re coming up on product launch in a couple of weeks and so I’ve been assessing our “readiness” to switch gears. It turns out it’s very good ! Everyone on our team is excited about our new products. But more importantly, everyone seems to be “getting it” and you can feel the momentum building around the new ideas.
So I did a rough calculation. 15 people have been at this for 5 months – – that’s 75 people months – – worth about 140 hours per month per person. Multiply that out is…..10,500 hours applied to the problem. How about that !
I was curious to know if Dan Coyle’s 10,000 hour rule for an individual could apply to a group. So I contacted Dan and ran the idea by him. “Yes” was his reponse. It makes sense that collective experience a this level equals a team accumulating a world-class level of expertise. “Yup” the people on the team tell me. We are feeling like it’s making sense and we’re ready to move into the selling phase after talking to loads of prospective customers and thinking a lot about our market strategy.
So I think this is an important lesson for early stage companies. Apply the 10,000 hour rule to your team. See if you have reached a collective 10,000 hours working on a market-entry or first revenue strategy. If you haven’t, you may not be at the point where it pays to step on the gas. If you have, then your team is a “collective expert” and you have a good base set for success.