When buying shoes, shirts, pants, dresses, or suits it would be unimaginable to think that one size fits all. Yet, when solving a business problem many force a solution whether or not it is the best fit.
The rationale I typically have heard is:
- No reason to reinvent the wheel
- Cheaper than customization
- Faster than customization
Basically, this is misinformation. One can leverage experience to mitigate total reinvention, while getting it right the first time accounts for efficiencies not gained by the “re-do” factor. Frankly, forcing a solution that leads to a faulty outcome is not only more inefficient than a custom approach but leads to poor decision making. A lack of specificity in solutions leads to generic, non-actionable, misdirected outcomes.
Custom solutions empower one to move forward with optimal actions resulting in bottom line effectiveness. Anything short of such outcomes are a waste of time and effort.
Have I suddenly found religion? Having recently worked on the client (corporate) side of business, there is something that I must get off of my chest. As marketing research industry conferences begin to kick in, I am seeing excessive gifts and swag offered as incentives to engage with partners and vendors. Giving away trinkets, such as pens or smartphone pop sockets, is one thing but we are talking over the top gifting. Instead of competing on innovation and ideas, vendors are competing on an ability to lore potential clients to their booth with promotional give aways. Who do you think pays for these “gifts?”
I am not naive and understand that some vendors view swag as the cost of growing business. At the same time, would it not be more compelling to engage on ideas rather than on who has the best swag? Given all the conversation on how marketing research spend is lessening due to sophisticated intelligence tools, throwing more swag at clients is a sure way to further cheapen the value of sound marketing research. Conferences present opportunities to learn, network, and reconnect. Let’s return to using our minds rather than our pockets.
When examining process, it is easy to forget that process is not solely about product or objects but real people. The realization struck me when I heard one of our guest speakers exclaim, “Everyone should experience an acquisition at least once in their career.” Having been through two acquisitions, I have a different point of view. Lives are often adversely affected through acquisition. I have observed first-hand top notch CEO’s, CFO’s, CIO’s, directors, managers and employees at all levels lose their jobs. Typically, those who become unemployed are informed that their position is redundant. I will grant you that there is a great deal to learn when IT integration occurs. However, individuals with bills to pay and children to feed are frequently displaced not due to something they did or didn’t do that would justify dismissal. I am not making a case for holding an MIS executive accountable for having to let people go. Acquisition decisions are made at a higher level. With that said, we must always keep in mind that processes are created and implemented by human professionals doing their jobs. Central to seamless integration is efficiency and leveraging better practices but, while doing so, we must keep in mind that real people might be negatively affected. Displacing people as a function of an acquisition is not something we should relish nor take lightly.