by Jeffrey Wack
Over the past several years, research has been trending more and more towards an isolation mindset. Research departments have been shrinking and budgets have been cut, but the need for insight never relents. To overcome these challenges, we have been seeking tools to enable us to do everything ourselves – to self-serve, self-administer, and self-diagnose. We willingly – or reluctantly – embrace these roles where we must be a “Jack-of-all-trades,” learn how to do more with less, and manage all aspects of research projects on our own – including those that may not fit our personal strengths.
Yet, it is becoming apparent that this isn’t a sustainable path, and 2020 has shone a spotlight on the aspects of our lives that are not sustainable. It isn’t sustainable to be a “Jack-of-all-trades” while working from home and balancing job responsibilities with the needs of your family. We need to find ways to avoid the “do-it-yourself” mentality and, instead, adopt a do-it-together philosophy so that none of us are overloaded to the point where we cannot overcome the rest of life’s challenges. It is important that we understand our own strengths and weaknesses and surround ourselves with individuals who complement our skills, knowledge, work style, and schedule.
It is important that we understand our own strengths and weaknesses and surround ourselves with individuals who complement our skills, knowledge, work style, and schedule.
Becoming true partners with clients is something I strive for as a researcher. Not just a research vendor, but a partner. A partner to you, to help you grow and succeed in your role. A partner to your organization to strategize, consult, suggest, and disseminate insights. A partner that proactively determines where our time and expertise can help your organization the most. Yet despite seeing this approach succeed with so many organizations, we still see many others isolating themselves and forcing “do-it-yourself” platforms onto their research departments. What these organizations don’t seem to realize is that having access to DIY tools doesn’t mean their staff has to actually do everything themselves. It is a just a platform to help facilitate the research process. It is still important to surround yourself with professionals that understand how to execute this process. Building a relationship as a true partner in research, I learn to adapt to your needs, from using the platform(s) preferred by your organization to identifying the aspects of the research process where we can be of most value.
That “value” differs for every client. I work with research professionals who may have a vast understanding of their customers, their information systems, and how to extract the needed data and sample to begin collecting data. But, those same professionals don’t also always have skills that enable them to triangulate insights, create compelling presentations, and communicate those presentations across an organization. I work with data scientists who can set up brilliant models and mine insights out of obsidian, but may not understand how to make that same data tell a story. I work with clients who are amazing storytellers, engaging presenters, and persuasive influencers, but who do not always understand how to balance sample, weight data, and ensure their insights are backed by high-quality data collection methodologies.
It is a bit foolish to think one person can successfully be a “Jack-of-all-trades” if they are only given access to DIY tools. A software license is just a vehicle; it is still the people that drive the research to meaningful destinations. I believe teams filled with diverse skillsets are necessary to execute projects because each individual team member provides enrichment from their own knowledge and expertise. “Do-it-together” isn’t just a philosophy, but truly it’s the only way to succeed both as individuals and an organization. You just have to take a step back and remember: The end product will always be better if we find a way to “do-it-together” versus taking on the entire world ourselves.
If any of this described your situation, sometimes it is as easy as a quick conversation to find out how we can be of value to your organization. Burke has the depth of knowledge, industry expertise, and flexibility to provide resources for your particular situation. “Do-it-yourself” tools shouldn’t make you feel like you are on your own when there are industry experts you can leverage to complement your personal skillset. Ultimately, this enables you to dedicate your time to the aspects of your role where you add the most value to your organization.
Jeff is never satisfied with the status quo and is always looking to advance a project, process, or analysis to the next level. He has a particular passion towards CX trackers where the goal is to endlessly find new ways to improve the customer experience.
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Sources: Feature Image – ©Jacob Lund – stock.adobe.com