Be a true expert by giving a speedy response.
Marketing strategy & insight professional by day, FPA (food programme addict) by night is my unofficial job title. I am that guy that feeds his appetite for food programming at least four times a week (excuse the cheesy pun). If you are also a member of the “FPA support group” you will know that Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares is an essential part of the diet. The show is about Ramsay turning around the fortunes of a failing restaurant. His approach to problem solving in the programme is a great example of how us insight professionals should approach projects.
Step 1: Do you have a go-to formula?
Ramsay arrives at the establishment and very quickly analyses three elements: The food, the décor and the service. He could also analyse the finances, procurement, and marketing but instead he focuses just on what he knows will solve 80% of the problem. His experience then allows him to identify how the food, décor and service can be improved.
Insight professionals could take a similar approach and have ready a list of focus areas for any business problem that comes their way. However, that requires them to have planned what might be the three key success factors for every category of situation. Maybe a playbook of some kind would help which can be tweaked to every business. This would allow the insight professional to provide solutions back to the client quickly and appear more of an expert.
Stage 2: Identify the barriers to implementation early
Very quickly Ramsay has a frank conversation with the business owner and presents his big ideas for change. At this point he also discovers the potential barriers to implementation.
Something us insight/strategy professionals need to do more of is share our ideas and potential solutions to the business problem earlier. This forward thinking will focus the research and provide better, relevant insights as well as showcase our strategic brain.
Ramsay clearly has the authority, charisma, reputation and a process that allows business owners to give him control of their business problem. For insight professionals to be seen as expert problem solvers and trusted consultants, they need to take some key learnings from Ramsay and his show format. I truly believe that by focusing our analysis on three key critical success factors (early on) like Ramsay does, allows us to feedback our thoughts much earlier on in the project lifecycle. It also allows us to have opinions and feed through ideas almost before the data collection or analysis starts.
In a world where getting data and insights to users quickly is key, I feel us insight professionals can do more to adopt this practice. Can we be brave and show our expertise before all the data is in? In fact can we be brave enough to do that before even starting the project? I think we can and we should because we have probably baked the same cake and tasted the likely output many times before (sorry I had to end with a pallet cleansing FPA pun).