One of my favourite passages in David Gilbertson’s Wine Bar Theory is when he says “Make sure you can describe your business simply. Then you can explain it to someone attractive you just met and are sitting next to at a dinner party or on a park bench. By the time you finish telling them what you do they need to be looking deeply into your eyes. Not lying face down in their soup. Or wandering off to find another bench.” Yet very often when I meet with clients and ask what they do I get a dozen different answers from a dozen different people. Some of the feistiest client board meetings I have been in involve the senior team arguing about what their business proposition is. So many things get in the way of nailing it down: egos, dreams, cash-flow, departmental rivalries. Yet, unless everyone is clear internally about what they do, why that is special and how it will continue, it is quite hard for their customers to appreciate it. Two facilitated exercises for helping everyone get on the same page are the Client Value Matrix and Stakeholder Perceptions. Download them here.