Research and the Power of Surprise!
I took a page out of the advice we give to clients and spent the better part of the past four days doing secondary research on our industry, our region and the core industries that we serve. I figure that I’ve got a bit more time at it before I can comfortably say, “I think I’ve got it.”
One of the more interesting aspects of the exercise has been the way I’ve been able to compare my perception of reality with the facts. Every client we engage has a role in forming the conventional wisdom that guides their industry within their sphere of influence. One of the first things we do with a new client is gather the intelligence that they have about their own business, market and competition. The next step is, ideally, testing that knowledge against the facts. The opportunity to advance quickly and efficiently is in blending preconception with fact to arrive at a new understanding. To put in football terms, that’s how you see gaps in the line that can lead to big gains.
That’s why I always look forward to these little planning sabbaticals. It’s fun to be surprised; particularly when the surprises involve finding new ways to succeed. This time around, I’ve found some interesting shifts in regional economic development that jive with macro trends and may indicate a significant redefinition of our regional market. I’ve also discovered major shifts in focus among the companies that share our business sector and several ways to leverage the skills we’ve added beyond our traditional geography.
I guess it just makes sense. Taking time to look around is a pretty valuable tool when you’re figuring out where to go. Have you ever had a research driven surprise help with decisions? We’d love to hear the story.