Developing a rigorous training program is necessary for success in any endeavor. The Packers would not have won the Super Bowl last night if they did not have a successful plan for training their team, no matter how good Aaron Rodgers is. Similarly, the musicians in the New York Philharmonic were not just born with their talent, they have had to train, and continually hone their skills.
The same is true for successful Market Research teams. Without continued development opportunities, the skill level will stagnate.
But the question becomes, where do you focus the training efforts for the team? How do you know what skills are most necessary and most lacking? The skills needed for success in the Market research world are constantly changing and it can be hard to keep up with this evolution. Imagine how football players would react if every year the goal posts were extended just a little farther. Thankfully for the NFL, they aren’t, but sometimes in market research it can feel like that is the case.
As we’ve been hearing across the membership, it is no longer enough to only have the core research skills covered on your team. Strategic consulting and influence skills are no longer a “nice to have,” but a need to have for researchers to excel. (MREB members can look at our Market Research Talent Development Trends research brief to hear more about the changing needs of market research teams.)
In our discussions with members we continually hear that for training to be effective you must first make researchers understand their skill gaps, and motivate them to want to learn said skills. In this changing world, it can be difficult to identify individuals’ strengths and weaknesses. Football players get input from their coaches, teammates and self evaluation. Market Researchers can similarly turn to their managers and business partners as well as their own self assessment.
Successful ideas where we’ve seen this across the membership include: role playing on business issues with senior level executives, challenging researcher assumptions on insight generation, and 360° feedback with research-specific competencies.
What have you found to be important in the realm of training? What’s worked for you? Do you follow the NFL’s example by having a “training camp” or are development efforts more self-led? Leave a comment below to continue the conversation.