It’s development season for many of us in the corporate world—time to reflect on past performance and identify where we will focus our energy over the next year to move ourselves and our companies forward. To help, I’ve pulled together resources that researchers can use for their own development, and tools managers and department heads can use to prioritize team training initiatives.
We have identified 18 skills across six competency areas that improve research impact on the organization. Yes, foundational research skills are important, but focusing on more consultative skills like business problem solving, influence, and synthesis is what will really help you move the dial in your organization.
Researchers, use the maturity levels we have outlined in our Research Skills Framework to identify your self-development opportunities.
Heads of Research, launch our Research Skills Diagnostic to assess these skills across your team. You will receive a team report outlining the top strengths and development opportunities for your group, and individuals and managers receive more directed reports to help with one-on-one development discussions.
We have organized tools and templates to help researchers improve their performance across the 6 core research competencies:
- Foundational Competencies-utilizing the most appropriate methodologies and analytic techniques in a timely and efficient manner
- Insight Generation-shifting your primary contribution from accurate customer and market data to deep insights that lead to new business opportunities
- Business Problem Solving-using business problem-solving skills to uncover the highest-value questions to investigate and provide business-relevant recommendations based on their insights
- Influencing-using emotional influencing skills such as conflict resolution, versatility, and empathy to maximize your impact on strategic decision makers
- Communication-understanding distinct learning needs and decision-making environments of your business partners
- Synthesis-creating a concise articulation of the assembled knowledge, drawing together key insights and supporting information for your organization
Research’s growing strategic role in the business requires staff to shift from primarily technical roles to ones that can provide insights, business recommendations, and consultation. Creating the right mix of technical and strategic capabilities, however, proves especially difficult for many functions as team sizes remain static or shrink despite escalating demand. Research managers, access MREB resources to help with:
- Hiring-locating talent with relevant skills for realistic, specialized research job profiles, and an intellectual curiosity that makes them more likely to generate high-quality insights
- Research Training and Development-sandwiching effective research training initiatives between pre-training motivation and post-training reinforcement activities
- Career Planning and Evaluation-developing metrics that link to each Research role as well as the function’s overall goals and expand career opportunities to motivate and retain high-potential researchers