Last week I started a series of posts on the five consultative skills that researchers can build to improve business impact:
With insight already covered, it’s time to address skill #2: business problem solving. More than two-thirds of the research leaders that we spoke with think that it takes 7 or more years to develop the skills to act as a consultant to business partners—and business problem solving in particular can turn into a problem of time.
To avoid losing productivity from junior researchers and the crippling replacement costs for senior ones, we have seen research departments train to apply existing logic skills to speed up the natural process of gaining business-specific experience.
For one company, Research found that the team excelled at project execution, but their impact on the overall business was lagging. They were answering their business partners’ questions, but still not addressing the real business need.
To help speed up the team’s ability to ensure match between research request and the underlying business issue, researchers cooperatively work with business partners to identify the root business problems BEFORE doing any research. By formalizing an analysis tree framework, the team can use iteration to make sure that they identify key issues and sub-questions. As the VP of Marketing put it,
“Delaying the start of our project to go through this process was a bit painful, but in the end I feel much more comfortable that Research understands my issues.”
MREB member, see the details of the Business Issue Diagnostic Approach here.