An old friend in business called me to share her “crisis of confidence” in using her pricey new database/CRM/analytics system. She had led the organization through a major investment in “cleaning, compiling and organizing” the data to make it more “usable.” It was a herculean task, and she was proud of her accomplishment – but she was struggling to produce a material outcome beyond project completion.
The Business Problem
After wrestling with their data and building reports for another six months, there was a sinking feeling, one you may have even experienced yourself … for all the effort – where was this going? How is it driving the business? Are we making better decisions for it – or are our decisions just different? How will we justify the investment and produce returns? The catch all “infrastructure spending” was tossed around briefly.
After looking at a handful of reports and documents, I had many questions for her. Not surprising for an exceptionally successful executive like her, she gave me some fair and honest answers. One response she used more than once was, “We don’t know.” That’s not trivial. In many organizations, it’s risky to think it, much less say it. Sometimes the best answer is “I don’t know” – but surrounded by data and smart people, it’s not entirely unreasonable for some folks to feel uncomfortable with a candid “I don’t know.”
Get Comfortable with ‘Not Knowing’
Just saying “I don’t know” can be the first step in solving the problem – so long as you’re wed to the fact that you “just know” you can’t even take the next step, which is problem definition, because you don’t have a problem if you “just know” something is good, important or even working – data and evidence aside. Take the challenge – I guarantee you this small act will spark more ideas, action and solutions for the de minimis time it takes than anything else you can do.
Kirkwood Direct is largest service provider that offers comprehensive and effective end-to-end direct marketing communications solutions to their clients. It offers various services like Data Management/ Data Acquisition, Commercial Printing, Mailing Services, E-marketing and many more. Call (978) 642-0300 or visit site.