Last week, with what I thought was reasonable clarity, I made a decision to attend an event. This week, after having attended the event, I realized that it actually "cost" me more -- not in money, but in the expenditure of personal energy -- to attend than I had originally thought it would. I regretted my decision. I vowed to myself that I'll make a better decision next time.
Wouldn't you know it, I now see several blog posts about the impact of decisions on business success and the exceedingly nuanced question "what will it 'cost' me if I make this decision?"
Clients making decisions: Just as I fooled myself into thinking I had made a good decision, so too with clients, who may not fully understand the real reasons why they decide to purchase our services or to discontinue them. It's up to us to understand the basis of their decision-making. Two blog posts offer interesting perspectives.
- Michelle Golden urges professional service firms to do a better job of understanding the real reasons why clients decide to switch their loyalties. Her post debunks the notion that we should accept at face value the reasons we lose or upset clients.
- David Maister touches on the topic as well, in his post about getting honest feedback, and that people's feelings play a lot more into their decisions than they let on.
Making decisions for our own firms: I could spend the next week bemoaning the number of times I've seen professional service firms make horrifyingly bad marketing management decisions. I'll bet you could offer millions more examples. Thankfully, some thought leaders are trying to get to the bottom of the decision-making conundrum. I found two articles, from respected management consultancies Booz Allen Hamilton and Bain & Company, both on decision-making.
- The latest issue of Booz Allen's strategy + business features an article "Why Managing by Facts Works." The authors say that executives too often ignore the facts, and make "gut" business decisions based on fads or hunches. They say that evidence-based management leads to competitive advantage.
- Bain's latest results brief features an article "Who has the 'D'?" The authors examine the findings of their study that only 15% of surveyed companies practice effective decision-making. Interestingly, they found that high-performing companies do fairly well in making brand positioning decisions.
if you're in a marketing leadership role at your professional service firm, I encourage you to dig deeper when participating in critical marketing decisions. Ask yourselves how honest you are being -- or others are being with you. Examine more than just the shallow areas of impact -- like money or resource allocations -- of your firm's marketplace decisions. Ask about the other areas of "cost" to you or your firm if those decisions don't pan out.