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If You Were Boss

“If I were in charge of my organization, what would I do based on the information I have?”

That’s a question each of us as researchers should consistently ask ourselves.

All too often, we are content to give numbers and charts, and report what respondents said, when our management really wants to know what we recommend and how it will improve the business.

If we want to be heard and have an impact on our organizations, we need to develop a clear point of view (POV).  That means shifting in our own minds from researchers to management — acting as though we are the ones making the decisions rather than just providing data.

In addition to providing direction to the organization, it results in a much more on-target report.

Develop a POV

A clear POV is an important part of any recommendation. There may be times when we believe the recommendation is obvious based on the numbers we have.  But don’t make that assumption.  We work with numbers every day, and are comfortable with them and what they mean, but others in the organization may not be. Don’t assume others see what you see.  You need to give your POV based on the data? What do you think we should do, and why?

What would you do in their shoes?

At the end of the day, our objective should not be to report survey results but to provide direction for making decisions — again, shifting our mindset from research to management.

For instance, does management really care if we increased top 2-box scores for brand awareness? What does that really mean?  Does it translate into sales?  Does it tell us if the strategy is right?  What does it mean if our customer satisfaction score decreased?    Should the company invest in changes?   What does all this mean to the decision maker? Why should the CEO care?

The ability to think like management and provide more value means that our knowledge goes far beyond how to execute a market research study. Our research skills should be cost of entry. We need to also know something about marketing, strategy, pricing, messaging, and other areas of the business otherwise our recommendations become sophomoric.  If we don’t take the time to develop a holistic view of the business, we limit ourselves to the role of data collectors.

Each time we present results, the question to ask ourselves is “if I were in charge, what would I do based on the information I have?”  Whatever that answer is, present a case for it.  Design your report or presentation so that it takes your audience on a journey that ends with your recommendation.

So what would you do?

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