September 06, 2016

Healthy Business: Testing

I fielded a call from an Executive. This individual wanted to understand the impact of a marketing tactic. The conversation went something like this:

Kevin: Did you test the idea?

Professional: Did I what?

Kevin: Before rolling out the tactic, did you test it, so that you knew the impact it would have on sales?

Professional: Heavens no. We were being strategic.

Kevin: What does that mean?

Professional: We workshopped a bunch of ideas on a white board, held a strategic session including all members of the Executive Team, and then picked the strategies we wanted to act upon.

Kevin: How is that being strategic?

Professional: Are you kidding? That's the essence of being strategic. A room full of Leaders making decisions.

Kevin: But now you are asking me what the impact of your decisions are, and you could easily have known the impact if you had the patience to execute a small test.

Professional: Just use some of your geeky math and answer my question, alright?

A healthy business wants accurate answers to questions.

Unhealthy businesses want somebody to "hack" the answer.

A healthy business possesses employees who want to learn, who want to understand how everything fits together. A healthy business then acts upon what was learned, and does not waste time retesting.

Unhealthy businesses want to be strategic, but their actions are not strategic.

A healthy business does this:
  • Test.
  • Learn.
  • Act.
An unhealthy business does this:
  • Theorize.
  • Strategize.
  • Lionize.
Yup ... since the unhealthy business doesn't want to learn, the unhealthy business creates theories. The theories are converted to strategies, and when the strategies don't work, the one who theorizes is lionized. This is one of the reasons why Marketing Executives are fired every two years.

If you want to improve business performance, try the Test / Learn / Act approach.