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Developing Insight—Just Read, Observe, Ask

by David Brock on November 11th, 2013

We struggle with developing Insight.  Sure, we need help and support from marketing, product management, and others in the organization.  But there’s a huge amount we can do on our own.

The other day, I was reading the Wall Street Journal (One of about three “newspapers” I read every evening.)  There was a fascinating article featuring issues CFO’s, and other executives worry about.

They posed seven questions strategically minded CFO’s care about—which means we should care about them:

  1. How does your company plan to grow, through M&A or Organically?
  2. What are the dominant constraints that hold back your company’s growth, and how might you overcome them?
  3. What is the greatest uncertainty facing your company, and what can you do to resolve or navigate it?
  4. What is your greatest area of spend where there is a lot of uncertainty about return?
  5. Are your company’s financial and growth goals ambitious enough?
  6. What could disrupt your company, and what can finance do about it?
  7. What would you like your company to stop doing?

So these are the questions CFO’s and other top execs are asking themselves, the proverbial, “What keeps them awake at night,”  so now we can start looking to how we might help them answer one or more of those questions.

Focus on just one, research it, think about what might impact your customer.  See how others are addressing the same issue.  Think about what your other customers are doing in addressing the same issues.  Wander around the customer’s operations, talk to operational people, develop ideas.

Engage your customers in talking about these issues.  Get their views and opinions, share yours.

Let’s not make things more complicated than they need be.  Ideas and Insights are all around us, we just have to be paying attention.

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  1. Brian MacIver permalink

    Dave, anther great blog, on insight generation.
    That word THINK, which we both learned long ago,
    still remains the KEY to great insights.
    [and great blogs!]

    • Thanks Brian. I had one of those signs sitting on my desk for years! My colleagues thought it odd, I always had it pointing to me to read, not to whoever might be in my office. It was a great reminder!

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