Last night’s Superbowl was a real cliff-hanger, even for the one of us who picks teams by the “red-beats-blue” method. (That was a dilemma yesterday, by the way…no names mentioned). But the outcome of the game carries with it a great reminder for our research clients.
In today’s hurry-up world, fast seems to be becoming increasingly important. Nearly every project begins with the question, “how fast can we get these answers?” or some variant of that. Then, having made our best recommendation, we’re invariably asked, “couldn’t you give me a topline sooner?” You know, as in, “as soon as you have gathered some subset of the responses”? We’re business-owners as well as consultants. So we understand the importance of being on top of what customers are thinking, as precisely as possible, and in the most timely fashion. But imagine what would have happened if we had based our predictions for the outcome, our business decisions, and our action plan for the Superbowl on who was leading at halftime…Sometimes, in the words of Yogi Berra, “it ain’t over til it’s over”.
Imagine you’ve been reaching out to your customers, and they’ve been telling you that something has to change. But it’s a dilemma. You don’t want to change too much, or your loyal purchasers may stop purchasing. You don’t want to change so much that your teammates or employees don’t feel like they’re getting what they signed on for. You want evolution, not revolution, right?
Embattled tech company RIM has been facing just this sort of a decision. The company announced today that its co-CEOs were stepping down, to be replaced by insider Thorsten Heins. But so far the market hasn’t responded kindly. The problem may be that the change is simply too small. While RIM’s fall from grace has been dramatic, in fact, nothing short of meteoric, this change appears, to many, to be miniscule. Herein lays the key to knowing how much change is enough. The degree of change needs to be relative in scope to the level of impact that’s required. So if the problem your customers have been encountering is significant, then the change will likely come with a commensurate level of discomfort. If you want revolutionary change, be prepared for a revolution.