« Are You a Marketer or a Snake-Oil Salesman? | Main | How to "Get" Social Networking »

January 23, 2008

What's the Problem?

Any time I'm faced with a task, I find it useful to look at it in terms of problems, processes, and solutions. This applies to all aspects of life, but since this is a marketing blog, presume we're talking specifically about marketing.

Although looking at a situation might give you an initial gut feeling that turns out to be right, challenging your assumptions and working through the process to ensure you have identified the problem correctly is still an important exercise.

This doesn't have to be a long, drawn-out process if the problem and answer are obvious.

In fact, it is for that reason we're able to function every day without drawing all our thoughts on paper to ensure our logic is flawless before proceeding.

We do it on the fly, because it is in our capacity to do so, and we're right enough times in our day to keep the engine of our economy turning.

If logic, however, is not your strong suit, or you cannot conclude your assumptions with a reasonable degree of certainty, first, endeavor to improve.

Second, set up your systems so that you can fail, learn, and improve quickly.

This not only helps improve your ability to reason, but it also improves your instincts, which may help you identify your problems more accurately on your first try. - Cam Beck

P.S. Seth has a nice post about "Layering" that speaks to the ideal of a quick-learning system.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c5ffc53ef00e54feeec448833

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference What's the Problem?:

Comments

Cam,

Most thought-provoking line: "Although looking at a situation might give you an initial gut feeling that turns out to be right, challenging your assumptions and working through the process to ensure you have identified the problem correctly is still an important exercise."

Sometimes it is a real problem when gut instincts turn out to be right, because that convinces people that their own personal instincts are infallible and off limits for criticism.

This is a great post, packed with solid advice. From neither dismissing nor belaboring the process to establishing systems that can learn from experience, it is filled with points that require careful consideration by any manager - thanks!

Jim - I would also add that it's possible for the conclusion to be right, but the reasoning to be wrong, which makes it more likely that the person who made the right decision will confuse it for the right reasoning.

Great addition. Thank you.

Cam - wow! There's an oversight for you! - Not just the instinct, but faulty reasoning the conclusion of which only coincidently corresponds with the winning outcome. I'm glad you caught that and highlighted it. That is absolutely an important thing to keep in mind, both about those we see around us hitching up bandwagons based on a success or two and asking us to join the band, or even - especially - about ourselves.

Thanks!

The comments to this entry are closed.