Season 1: Episode 2

Waymaker’s Leadership Curve is a sense making framework. You’ll discover remarkable growth comes from asking and answering just 7 questions on a regular, consistent basis.


welcome to leadership talk

the official waymaker podcast where we
how your organization can achieve more
by doing less
oh welcome to the leadership talk
podcast by waymaker i’m your host craig
and with me on the sunny gold coast is
stuart leo how are you stu
hello i’m fantastic how are you that’s
i’m i’m really really well what do you
think of that intro the
car driving off and the that’s pretty
dynamic wasn’t it
it was yeah it’s sensational electric
i’m talking about actually i’ve noticed
you haven’t heard it have you no i
haven’t heard it
what do i need to watch the intro to the
all right okay see this is the kind of
leadership i
i trust i have in in people on my team
you just do a great
job but it’s done all right let’s get on
with it it sounds all right sounds
amazing sounds good
hey stu do you want me to start again or
are we just happy together keep rolling
yeah all right well let’s do last week
this is how we roll this is it last
episode that we recorded we
kind of gave a bit of an introduction to
waymaker and
what is it um and you told a little bit
of your journey over the last
decade oh yeah also yeah yeah um and we
talked about eight observations of
successful teams and and if you want one
of the things
if you want to know what they are go
back and listen to that first episode
great groundbreaking observations um
but you said something in that uh
um where you said that waymaker was both
a management framework
and a software platform so for those of
us that didn’t kind of pick that up or
understand exactly
what you meant by that can you explain
again what is waymaker
yeah i mean this is what is way maker
part two so um waymaker
is well it’s two things it’s a it’s a
leadership and management framework that
you can adopt
and use in your own organization that
help you achieve remarkable results over
to steal a phrase from a jim collins
strategic compounding growth but it’s
a technology platform that helps you
do that and do it easily and really well
actually implementing
the the framework and achieving
remarkable results it’s not easy
it it you got to coordinate a number of
things and so the technology actually
makes it super easy to do that so it’s
two things it’s a
it’s a it’s a framework which we’ll jump
into in a minute
and it’s technology platform and so if
want to um achieve
growth and align your team and build
focus and get clarity
and do all those things that we talked
about last week which
were the ingredients that helped
organizations do remarkable things
then the framework helps you make sense
of how
and the software puts it into action
super easy so we should probably pull
those apart a little bit shouldn’t we
yeah go for it well um let’s talk about
the framework
you know what is it and if you jump onto
the website and we’ll put links in the
show notes
to bring up the framework but the
framework that sits behind waymaker is a
framework called the experience curve
and it’s a sense-making framework
so what is a sense-making framework
it’s just a framework that helps you
make sense
of the world around you so so
you know we’re talking to business
that want to find breakthrough and
achieve growth
and to be honest with a world moving so
fast around us
we we need to make sense of the world
around us and the world within us and we
need to do that quickly
and sometimes that’s really hard
sometimes we feel like we’ve got
deering headlights you know what’s going
on i thought i told my team to do this i
thought we were going in this direction
but how do we end up over here
i thought the priorities were this but
hang on a minute why are they doing that
you know all these issues that you face
that if let go out of control create
um this is a framework that helps you
make sense of your
your organization what’s going within it
what’s going
around it and so this idea of sense
making it’s
you um it’s i love the the science and
the theory you can you can jump into
work by
people like carl vike and an american um
theorist and and organizational
scientist who
probably introduced the idea of sense
making we’ve talked in podcasts
in another life in our old series um
uh some of the work by prof dave snowden
who developed the the cinephone or
framework which is a problem-solving
sense-making framework and used widely
throughout the world
and the experience curve is a
sense-making framework
to help leaders make sense of their
where they are in their growth cycle
what they need to act on
in the short to mid term and what they
need to do to align build clarity and
achieve that breakthrough
and and so that’s called the experience
curve and you’ll see so it’s a visual
it’s a visual representation of the
strategic health of your organization
yeah it’s a good way of putting it
yeah it’s a it’s a it’s a it’s a
framework that you can look through
i like the idea of a window a
framework’s like a window
you put yourself through it and suddenly
it’s a way of organizing all the data
around you
and so so that’s effectively what we
do for clients on waymaker for customers
on waymaker
when you when you take a diagnostic
which roughly 25 30 minutes of time to
to take a diagnostic and when your team
members around you take that diagnostic
we’re crunching all that data
running some cool smart algorithms and
organizing um literally hundreds if not
thousands of data points
back around six key areas that you’ve
got to get right in order to
grow up a maturity cycle and
and so in our research uh we found that
there were
six primary functions of an organization
that you had to have awareness in and
you had to have clarity you had to focus
et cetera all those things
that we talked about last week and those
six functions
uh vision market
so clarity vision where are we going
clarity of market who do we serve
clarity strategy how do we differentiate
clarity of business model how do we
generate value
clarity of customer experience how do we
acquire retain and grow customers
and clarity of employee experience
employee experience how do we acquire
retain and grow
our talent our teams and and every
not-for-profit for-profit government
have to get those six things
right and i shouldn’t say right they
have to get them
clear they have to get them aligned in
order to focus
in order to move forward in maturity and
so those
six key areas are all unpacked through
the diagnostic and when you unpack them
and i guess this is the power of the
we suddenly start to reveal not just
where you
are on this thing we call the experience
curve so you’ll see
i’ll draw with my finger a little curve
you’ll see that
that in the software and on on this
framework we
in the software we talk about is an x
curve and it’s a maturity curve
and and you want to grow up that market
leadership is at the top
um you know just born baby organization
is at the bottom um and and what gets
moving across this curve and up this
is um how well you grow each of those
six parts
so um so
so these are the six functions that you
need to get into alignment or whatever
what are the steps
like that we need to be taking or what
are the questions that we need to be
um to you know to actually see
growth in all of those areas so here’s
here’s the thing
you know we need to move all of those
six functions
forward but we don’t know which one to
move at which time and we don’t have
effort to do all of them at once that’s
the really hard part of achieving growth
you need to grow and achieve continuous
improvement in the most
valuable at the right time and so
you can’t build um vision market
strategy business model customer
experience and employee experience
all at once in one quarter is there a
preferred order
well no that’s the problem it’s unique
to the organization
and so the the the so that’s where the
really kicks in the waymaker the
platform when you take a diagnostic
um in 30 minutes it’s going to tell you
where you need to be focusing and where
you are on that growth curve
so so the experience curve helps you
make sense
of okay where am i in my growth
and okay what are the parts of the
organization that i need to build
need to build awareness need to create
but most importantly um which which ones
deserve the
most attention right now and so it’s
actually really hard to build
that situation awareness um
and and and get through all that data on
a quarter by quarter basis which is why
most organizations have a have an annual
strategic planning meeting
come in write a plan put together a big
powerpoint document
and kind of go and share it with the
rest of the team and
and look that’s the big problem it’s
it’s within two four six weeks that
plan’s broken
and the world has changed around us
and certainly within a quarter or two
significant things have changed that may
be causing that plan to no longer be
which most executives
tend to just put the plan to one side
and kind of
make it up as they go along or
they they just ignore it completely and
come up with a new plan and and that’s
often where reaction
kicks in and proactivity and focus and
disappears from the strategic
so the really big problem is okay how do
how do we plan how do we get this
situational awareness
how do we know what to focus on what’s
going to create the most value
and the way that’s normally determined
in the boardrooms of organizations
around the world is by
who’s got the biggest voice or who has
the highest position
or who has the squeakiest wheel and
they’re not the greatest criteria to
determine value
so okay so you take so you take this
diagnostics uh
the secret source of whatever questions
that you ask in the
diagnostics um we get a reality check
when it comes to where we are on the
experience curve
and then for those of uh for those that
are listening that have actually like
seen the experience curve
um on waymaker.io they would see that
there’s like a seventh thing that you’ve
got written there which is
action that’s right right yeah and so
we’ve got all these results or whatever
and then action so you’re talking about
you know
so the thing that often gets the action
is the squeakiest wheel or the highest
position et cetera et cetera
what do we need to be doing what
questions do we need to be asking
ourselves to actually
to get there have effective action so
there’s two things here the waymaker um
and the experience curve is
is both a methodology and a framework
and a system within the methodology in
the framework
and within the system we’re actually
asking seven questions
and the whole thrust the cycle of
waymaker is every
quarter ask and answer these seven
questions through the software and
together as a team
when you ask and answer those seven
questions you’re going to create
your balanced priority plan and
it’s interesting this this problem of
using questions
to i guess accelerate thinking
was was an idea a principle we borrowed
in in our research from the british
military they solved this problem of how
do you get
people to think quite quickly and solve
complex problems quickly
and and so it’s helpful to understand
that in order to understand the seven
questions inside the
framework and because the history lesson
history lesson okay 30 seconds
uh the the problem here was that at the
turn of the century um
the the british military took it was
taking too long and too complicated to
build a battle plan
um war was changing dramatically you
know quite quickly
no longer were enemies traditional wars
were no longer fought
on front lines they are in desert cities
against armies with no traditional
no traditional structure the old geneva
convention was no longer being applied
battles could emerge from anywhere and
that’s that’s a stark contrast
to the wars of the 20th century where
there were these traditional structures
and so decisions needed to be
made really quite quickly leaders needed
to adapt to rapidly changing
environments and circumstances
and they needed the ability to diagnose
plan and deliver at speed
to win i mean that sounds exactly like
the business marketplace we all live in
society is changing
geopolitical issues are changing culture
is changing technology is changing
it is really complex outside and inside
organizations and so the british
military said we need to solve this
we need to take battle planning what
they call a combat estimate
and we need to do this in in minutes and
hours not weeks and months
and to write an effective plan was
taking weeks and
and way too long and when a bomb goes
off in a in a market square or
down a road and you’re attacked you
don’t have that time you you have to
have a common language
you have to wait to think quickly but
act in a very structured nordic way
so they solve this problem by by
retraining all their leaders
and and they solved this problem by
saying look don’t do the
ingredients approach don’t don’t go step
one step two step three to step
30. we actually want you to do
all of this by simply asking and
answering seven questions
and if you ask and answer seven
questions you’ll determine what’s going
on around you what’s going on in front
of you
what the highest priorities are and how
best to win
the the mission in front of you and so i
love that idea because it helps you
think quickly
but it helps you think deeply and if
you’ve ever read that book
um great psychologist wrote it uh um
the book uh thinking fast thinking slow
um it’s kind of that science of building
a framework to think quickly that allows
you to think deeply
and you know if you want to get really
the science is actually built on
philosophy it’s the socratic method
asking and answering questions but
putting a framework around it so
so socrates kind of invented that about
two and a half thousand years ago
and the british military we can solve
this problem
and they did they took the the problem
of writing strategic plans of taking
way too long days weeks down into
and got effective highly effective plans
in 30 45 uh 50 minutes
awesome did you steal those seven
no um we just like the idea yeah
really good idea because our job is not
win a battle out out there and um
and and our enemy is not a human our
enemy is a gap
and so we applied the same principle of
asking and answering questions and look
we ended up with the same number seven
questions so it’s kind of a nice analogy
to use so there are seven
questions here that if you ask an answer
you will develop your strategic plan
and you’ll continually get greater focus
and clarity
and so those seven questions revolve
around the
six primary functions vision market
strategy business model customer
experience and employee experience
and the most important thing or function
which is action you know what must we do
and the seventh question is what are the
one two or three things that if we
in the next quarter or a half shift the
needle on this organization
actually get us to that mission and so
so the way you move up the experience
which is moving up in growth is every
quarter ask you in an
asking and answering those seven
which take you around that diagnostic
and determining your highest priority
activities and when you do that and then
share those
one two or three things with your team
you will
deliver and align the highest priority
so there might be actually a season in
your organization where
uh like one two or three things so it
might be it might
be we’ve tripped up on vision or we’ve
lost clarity on vision uh something else
might be
about or we’ve been through a season
where there’s been some pretty bad
customer experiences so we have to
double down on that or whatever so
so it’s gonna shift and change depending
on the season of the organization the
life cycle of the organization maybe
do you mature something and then it just
stays there
well that’s the thing um complex
things mature up things immature down
damages yes yeah yeah as you add people
to an organization
it will by default get less clear if you
are suddenly growing and you take your
from that founding team of five to ten
suddenly put another 10 or 20 people
into that team then the
the net clarity across your organization
of what you stand for and how you do it
it decreases so it’s not uncommon to see
um small core teams kind of hit hit
growth on the growth curve
add teams and move up into that
calibration phase
suddenly hit roblox going it’s just
taking us so much more effort to get
and and that process of asking and
answering those seven questions
um will always build clarity in what we
why we do it and how we do it and then
that last question
always builds clarity in will what needs
focus this quarter what moves us towards
that end goal and and so that simple
discipline of every 12 weeks
take the diagnostic review the insights
ask and answer the seven questions
together determine your priorities share
the priorities
everybody else aligns their goals and
objectives around those priorities
and execute the quarter it it
removes destruction it creates creates
focus but it creates this
really intense situation aware
ability to move forward and
and that’s what’s different and that’s
what creates
those remarkable results do we need to
articulate the seven questions or do are
we sending somebody
are we sending people somewhere i think
we should
um talk about what the seven questions
are okay let’s let’s hit up the seven
questions stu that
for our listeners yeah so what are these
seven questions
that’s that’s a good question um
the first question is around vision and
and so the eye the diagnostic actually
um asks and answers these
when it takes data from people on your
team and organizes all your data around
these areas
and when you come together to look at
that data on platform you’re practically
doing this
you’re saying right what is our vision
is it driven by our purpose what’s
holding us back from reaching it
and we’re and we’re reaffirming and
clarifying as an organization this is
where we’re going
and this is the problem we solve for
customers now what’s in our way
what do we need to remove the second
question and so
you’ll ask that you’ll answer that
you’ll have goals and objectives
that drop out of that yep you’ll go to
the second
uh function which is market and you’ll
ask that second question what is our
who is our ideal customer what do they
value and what perceptions do we need to
okay um yeah we’re going after this
market this is our ideal customer
yeah they value this and oh gosh yep our
our data and our research and our
insights are showing we’ve got to focus
on a b and c
great yep objective one objective two
objective three
question three what is our strategy
where is our growth focused
how do we improve our position okay
what is our strategy well it’s to be
this and deliver these competitive
advantages and
actually we need to improve on abc okay
another objective
and as you move through that process
you’ll actually end up with
and i won’t go through all the other
questions you can you can jump online
take a free trial
see all these uh on waymaker to io
but as you go through those seven
questions you’ll probably end up with
15 25 things that you could do okay
what you’ll notice though is that
they probably all revolve around a small
number of themes
and one of the cool things that the
waymaker platform does
is as as people in your team are asking
and moving through the diagnostic and
raising new goals
everybody else can see a new goal raised
so if the sales team
look at the marketing curve and go
actually yeah we need to improve on
um uh greater awareness
we think we should run a brand campaign
well they’ll raise that as a goal
and it’ll drop into the backlog on the
roadmap on your strategic roadmap and
everybody can see that
and the cool thing is just like in
social media you can like or
push something up with a vote you can
you can like that your team can like it
and it gets pushed up in priority and so
as as a leadership team comes together
they can actually
see all the good ideas and objectives
surfaced from across your team in one
they can see the value and the
of each of those and as a leadership
team you can
you can look at that list you can go
through the process yourself
and you can organize merge update
and develop your one two or three things
as an organization to commit to
for that next quarter and then when you
you answer that seventh question what
are those one two or three things
and you share those out then the
the goals apple the objective app which
we love
okrs which we’ll save for another
then you can you can share those out
across your team and your teams can
self-organize around
delivering those and so as you kick into
the quarter
people are delivering against their own
goals and you can see wherever you
at any time in the quarter you can see
where you’re at towards hitting that
and the goals on your strategic plan and
so the framework is helping you make
sense of what’s going on around you
what’s going on within you
helping you prioritize the short term
goals and then
helping you see with brutal clarity
where you are and what’s in your way
and so that that’s the the methodology
and the
and the system working together does
that make sense
it certainly does and i think that even
just like getting your hands on it and
kind of actually seeing how it functions
is probably
a really good next step for people that
are trying to sort of conceptualize this
in their head to actually
kind of see how easy it is to follow the
to follow the curve
and do the process it’s why we call it
an intelligent strategy platform
most people develop strategy and
planning by booking a one or two day
retreat with a team and
getting a whiteboard and a great
facilitator and you know there’s nothing
wrong with that
it’s it’s just sometimes slow lacking
and not as effective as it could be and
which is why waymaker exists because
it puts in the hands of everybody real
with real insights across the depth and
of the organization and it gives
everybody in that organization a voice
to say actually this is what moves us
and openness and transparency are the
key values there that actually let those
good ideas surface
and those good ideas take root and grow
to move that organization forward so
it’s really hard to do that
manually in fact it’s impossible to do
it manually so that’s why we use
technology to do it
and why waymaker acts as as a platform
because it’s way smarter than we can
ever be
to communicate with everybody and
process all that data
yeah that’s awesome asu we need to wrap
it up uh i think that there’ll be
a few interested listeners that might
want to jump on waymaker.io and just
sign up for a free trial
um you can you can have a look at the
demo you can
punch in data yourself uh all that sort
of stuff
um yep okay yeah i i i well we challenge
you yeah do it
um you know on one hand you could go and
hire a management consultant
and say hey what’s wrong with my
business how do i grow and
they can charge you 20 grand and take
six weeks or jump on
and in 20 30 minutes you’ll be able to
look at that data
and if you like what you see watch the
videos get an understanding
get the rest of your team on board and
you’ll see how the data might change
in fact let me talk to that you know one
of the things i love seeing
because i’ve seen it in myself is ceos
and leaders
they have a view of their business and
um they jump on they take the data the
diagnostics see the data their team
starts to jump on
and as more people jump on and and input
in through the diagnostic
you’re getting a real picture of where
the organization is
really at and what really needs to
versus what you think and
more often than not we’re biased to the
positive or the negative
and when we can get rid of those bias
and focus on the data
then um it’s a great awareness that
comes from that as as a leader because
then you’re actually in a position to
take real action
you’re saying ceos have blind spots stew
that’s hard to hear
yeah you know um we do
we all do um and it’s not just ceos
managers and team members and department
we all have blind spots and um what this
is it takes away our blind spots and
um gives us this blinding claret
lightning clarity to
to actually see you know what i actually
thought we were doing a good job here
but clearly
my team’s telling me we’re not therefore
let’s do it
let’s fix it and um and so that’s
that’s invaluable and as as leaders
we we don’t want to do what we think
we want to do what we know and
we that data is precious it
gives us real insight if if our
frontline sales teams are telling us
a marketing system or a service system
or a sales system is broken
and and we’ve got to improve here here
and here well
that’s probably the barrier between
average and amazing results and and it’s
it’s so much better to fix that than to
spend time and effort doing ineffective
and and so this this is why the platform
just has phenomenal roi with clients
because it it cuts the crap
and focuses on what needs to be done and
and you get results
awesome well we think we can help you
your roadblocks so um jump on
uh if you’re listening to this make sure
that you’ve hit subscribe tell your
because this is the podcast where we
talk about how to achieve more
by doing less

Leadership Torque: The Leadership Curve

Waymaker is both a management framework and a software platform, can you explain that?

The Waymaker Leadership Curve is a sensemaking framework.

A sensemaking framework is simply a framework or window through which we can make sense of what is around us.

Karl Weick, is an American organizational theorist who introduced the idea of sensemaking in the 1970s.

Since then, other leaders like Prof. Dave Snowden and his Cynefin framework have been introduced to help leaders make sense of the world around them and make the right decision for action.

The Waymaker Leadership Curve was developed to help leaders make sense of the organization around them and then to determine the highest value actions to take.

Listen in here:

Sadly, in today’s marketplace so many leaders fall under the weight of hyper-fast disruptive change.

Leaders & teams needed a new way of making sense of the situation around them, what improvements are needed and what the most effective course of action will be.

Many frameworks are useful as a drawing or diagram on a whiteboard.

However, in today’s world cloud software accelerates our ability to receive inputs, process data, create outputs and execute with a speed never before available to us in human history.

Waymaker is the software that brings the Waymaker Leadership Curve framework to life and makes it easier for leaders and teams to deliver strategic compounding growth.

Waymaker’s Leadership Curve

Waymaker's Experience Curve is framework to create strategic compounding growth.

As an organization matures up the curve, it will do so by maturing six functions in alignment.

The six functions every organization must mature are:


Solve a problem, set a vision for a better future.


Define market and focus on an ideal customer, building a great reputation.


Establish a valuable position in market and defend with long term strategic competitive advantages

Business model

Optimise an innovative business model to create a wonderful value proposition.

Customer experience (sales, marketing and service.)

Deliver an engaging customer experience to find, win and grow a valuable customer base.

Employee experience

Build a winning culture through a high-quality employee experience.

Then act with goals

The seventh item on the diagram above is ‘action’.

There is no point being clear on the six functions, or even aligned. If a team cannot effectively execute.

We do that by asking and answering 7 Questions

The 7 Questions of Waymaker’s Leadership Curve

The 7 Questions help teams think critically and quickly about their organization.

They help create situation awareness of what is going on outside the organization and inside the organization.

We developed these 7 Questions based on a principle exampled by the British Military.


At the turn of the century the British Military had a problem.

It took too long, and it was too complicated to develop a battle plan.

War was changing dramatically, quickly.

No longer were enemies traditional.

War was being fought in desert cities, without front lines, against an army with no traditional uniform or traditional organised structure.

Battles could appear from anywhere. A market square. An alley. A desert road or remote village.

This was a stark contrast to the majority of wars in the 20th century.

Leaders needed to adapt rapidly to changing circumstances.

Leaders needed the ability to diagnose, plan & deliver at speed to win.

Sadly, battle plans or what was known as combat estimates took too long to develop, write, communicate and were overly cumbersome to execute.

Lives were at stake.

The British Military reinvented how they trained leaders.

They taught leaders a new way to make sense of the situation around them, to develop a well thought out plan with other team members and to communicate and execute with precision to win.

They taught every leader to ask and answer 7 Questions. And, since 2001 still teach their leaders 7 questions.

These questions could be memorised and used anywhere, anytime.

Thinking quickly & thinking deeply.

This idea of asking and answering questions to thinking critically and act with determination is not a new idea, it was first popularised by an ancient philosopher called Socrates.

The British Military’s 7 Questions are an agile battle plan made through a Socratic method.

Waymaker’s 7 Questions are different, we do not seek to destroy but to build value. However, they do the same thing.

They help leaders and their teams quickly make sense of the business world around them, plan together thinking critically and then determine how to execute with precision to win.

In organization leadership our enemy is not human.

(We thank our military service men and women for putting their lives on the line.)

In business our enemy is the gap.

The gap between where we are today and where we need to be tomorrow.

The gap between an unclear market and knowing an ideal customer intimately.

The gap between a poorly performing business model and a highly profitable business model.

The gap between a toxic culture and an employee experience that births winning success.

The 7 Questions will create an awareness of what is going on around your organization, what is going on within your organization and what you need to action.

The align to the core functions of the organization; Vision, Market, Strategy, Business Model, Customer Experience and Employee Experience.

Waymaker’s 7 Questions are:

  1. What is our vision, is this driven by our purpose and what’s holding us back from reaching it?
  2. What is our market, who is our ideal customer, what do they value and what perceptions do we need to build?
  3. What is our strategy, where is our growth focussed and how do we improve our positioning?
  4. What is our business model, is it creating value, what metrics tell us this, and what practices improve our value proposition?
  5. What is our customer’s experience, how do we acquire, retain and grow customers through our personality and what improvements need to be made?
  6. What is our employee’s experience, how do we acquire, retain and grow talent through our principles and what improvements need to be made?
  7. What are the one, two, or three things that if delivered in the quarter of half will shift the needle on the business?

Take the Diagnostic

When you take the diagnostic in Waymaker, you will reveal answers to the 7 Questions and activities that if improved grow your business across the 6 functions on Waymaker’s Experience Curve.

Intelligent strategy software powered by Waymaker's Experience Curve

In around 30 minutes you’ll have the top priorities for improvement across your business.

You can sign up for a free trial here.

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