Senior business folk like numbers. Facts and statistics to base decisions on and to evaluate performance. It’s both rational and sensible.
But occasionally, it is beneficial not to be rational or sensible. As the Apple “Think Different” campaign so memorably reminded us.
Organisations should have plenty of talented members capable of coming up with creative and innovative strategies to immediate and potential business concerns.
But when you want the opposite to rational or sensible, the best thing might be to consult the public. Whether consumers, users, viewers, prospects, advocates, rejecters, indifferents, promoters, lovers, haters or otherwise, each person will have a unique take on a situation.
Each person has their own behaviours, needs, habits, lifestyle, attitudes, hopes, fears and opinions which can relate directly or indirectly to an organisation, market or industry.
And every so often it is beneficial for senior business folk to hear these. To be reminded, inspired, provoked, amused, horrified, informed, affirmed or corrected.
What they hear will either be
- Something they already knew, and should respond to
- Something they already knew, but shouldn’t respond to
- Something they didn’t know, and should respond to
- Something they didn’t know, but shouldn’t respond to
All are valuable. Whether delivered through ethnographic videos, photo logs, social media listening, user-generated content competitions or through other means, each new piece of stimulus helps evolve the thinking of those making the key decisions.
Facts and numbers are powerful. But people are also powerful. Even hearing the same opinion heard many times before but by a different voice in an unusual situation creates new context and new meaning.
Therefore, we should strive to complement our rational decision-making with the creative expression that comes from voices that may not be found in the board room.
NB: Inspiration for the post’s title is from the Riz MC song of the same name (who, to my knowledge, is the first and thus far only one of my university peers to achieve public success – measured by having a Wikipedia page). The lyrics have nothing to do with the content above, but the title led me to start thinking in this direction.