There are a lot of factors that go into growing a successful organization but one thing has always stood out to me: the more a decision maker listens, the better the results.
Why does this seem to be true (to me anyways)? I think it’s because a great leader can look past the numbers, they can look past the surveys and sales figures, they are eager to hear what people are actually saying. When a leader spends time with their customers they discover ‘the why’ behind the results, they gain the anecdotal evidence they need to get their team excited about making difficult decisions. They make more human decisions because they associate change with improving the condition of those they listened to.
To confidently move forward into a new market or to reach out to new customers, a company must always be listening to the needs around them. Sometimes a team can be so ‘internal’ that it spins around in its own vortex of reporting and analysis – this can create a toxic environment that may lead to blind decision-making based on erroneous interpretations.
Should you do your homework? Of course you should. But do just enough research as to know how to make sure you’re prepared to always be listening to your target audience. Gathering data, making pie charts and graphs, it’s all well and good but information should inspire human engagement, to act on a more human level and to go deeper, not just make another empirical reaction to a statistical conclusion.