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    How a Smart Leader is Transforming a Business to Remain Relevant

    Transforming a business to stay relevant in the market is tough. Here is how I helped a CEO to gain more clarity for her strategy.

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      Vaughan Broderick

      Vaughan Broderick

      Today, I’m going to share a case study of the nationwide not-for-profit New Zealand Young Farmers (NZYF) led by CEO Lynda Coppersmith.

      The case study provides an overview of how Lynda and her team responded to the significant challenges they face to remain relevant and thrive.

      Many organisations find themselves in a fast-changing world. A world where, what worked in the past, won’t work in the future. Where customer needs are changing. Where disruption is occurring. Where value and customer experiences are critical.

      There is something you can do about it.

      Future-focused leaders take action. They listen and engage. They encourage ideas and look for insights. They evolve how they operate. They move towards a thriving future.

      Unfortunately, some leaders are stuck not knowing what to do. So, they stay as they are. They rely on past success, hoping success repeats. Their organisations become irrelevant.

      Future-state leaders transform businesses. Current-state leaders let businesses become obsolete.

      Read time: 5 minutes (or less) 👇

      This is what we’ll cover today:

      • Background.
      • Methodology & tools.
      • Outputs & assets.
      • Impact.

      Let’s get going!


      Since the first Club was established in 1927, NZYF has been an integral part of New Zealand’s food and fibre sector, supporting 1,600+ young people across a 60+ club network.

      The clubs are located in rural and urban settings supporting members with new connections, skills, knowledge, experiences and pathways.

      Lynda was already on a journey of building a sustainable business model and had formed assumptions of the membership.

      She wanted to challenge her assumptions and gain clarity from deep understanding of the needs of the membership.

      The project brief was to understand the personas of the membership.

      Persona Example
      Persona example (not NZYF)

      Methodology & Tools

      Lynda was keen to use design thinking for the work and committed to 21 member interviews and 2 club meeting visits for the discovering phase.

      The interviewees were from diverse locations, backgrounds, ethnicities, occupations, club roles and membership duration.

      During the understanding phase I used the following tools to derive insight:

      • Profiles of each interviewee to capture personal details, observations, attitudes, attributes, behaviours and killer quotes.
      • Affinity mapping to identify commonalities, themes, gaps, sentiment and tensions.
      Affinity map example
      Affinity map example (not NZYF)

      Outputs & Assets

      The insights that emerge were synthesised into 4 useful outputs:

      1. Word clouds to visualise the common and significant attributes.
      2. A point of view statement to articulate the core need of members.
      3. Fundamental member experiences were identified and presented within the structure of ‘voice of members’, finding and evidence.
      4. An immersive presentation (including video highlights) was made to the board to help facilitate common understanding and alignment.

      The insights from the discovering phase pointed to the need for the creation of 2 useful assets:

      1. Personas were created. Ideally, the fewer personas the better. But, in this case there were 2 distinct personas needed to reflect the membership and culture dynamics.
      2. A member experience journey map. During the understanding phase it became clear that there were important moments, pain points, factors and value drivers that led to members choices and club viability.
      NZYF Member Journey
      NZYF member experience journey map


      Lynda shared with me the considerable impact that this work has made on NZYF and herself:

      • Lynda now has the confidence that strategy and actions are informed from a robust base of customer knowledge and insight.
      • Existing work streams have been strengthened.
      • New activities have emerged to enhance existing activities and processes.
      • The team use the assets as a reference for service delivery and can “cut through the noise” of daily issues staying focused on what matters.
      • Lynda can add greater value to partnership discussions providing NZYF a competitive advantage.

      The short of it

      • Member (customer) research is essential to inform business strategy.
      • Use the right tools for the objective to derive useful outputs.
      • Clarity breeds confident decision-making.
      • Courageous leaders challenge assumptions and are open to learning.

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      That’s all.

      Let’s achieve together.

      🥇 LinkedIn Tip of the Week 🥇

      🔥Research Quote🔥

      “Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose. – Zora Neale Hurston

      See you again next week.

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