Is it annual review time in your company?
How's that going for you this year?
I hope you're looking back at the last 12 months and finding plenty of things for your Insight team to celebrate.
And I hope that the annual review process itself isn't too dispiriting... Having worked for a global organisation for 20 years before I joined the IMA, I have to confess that I don't miss performance management, and the sometimes soul-destroying conversations about distribution curves and the relative merits of one colleague versus another.
Time to celebrate
But I do miss the sense of achievement I always got when I looked back over the work that our Insight team had completed. In particular, I loved reflecting on the range of business projects to which we had added value, and the changes we had driven which would enable our organisation to provide better services and make more sustainable profits in the future.
So when you were listing the things that your Insight team had achieved this year, what was on your list?
Key achievements for Insight teams
It seems to me that there are 5 legitimate ways to record what value a corporate Insight team has added:
1. The easiest is to list the new insights which you have discovered this year. What new, contextualised discoveries have you made about the way in which consumers interact with your organisation to create value? Or the ways in which they could create more value if your team is successful in driving changes?
2. One step up is to record the key business decisions that you have already managed to influence. What were the top 10 for your analysts and researchers this year?
3. The ultimate measure is put a £ or $ value on the changes you have driven, the contribution your team has made, and the ROI that represents on your company's investment in Insight. Not enough organisations do this, but where they do, the Insight team puts itself in a great position to drive more changes next year.
But there are two other types of achievement
4. The first of these relates to the growing body of knowledge that our teams record, cultivate, curate and harvest. Major decisions are rarely driven by one insight; instead we need to build an accumulated bank of knowledge and understanding that we can share at any time and use as context for every new observation we make.
5. And last, but not least, there are our achievements growing the capability in our teams. There's the analyst we have hired, the researcher we have mentored, the skills, mindset and behaviours we have changed within our wider teams.
As Insight leaders we have ultimate responsibility for how our companies can take this thing called Insight, identify its potential to transform our business, and invest our time and energy developing it into a more powerful driver of change at the end of the year than it was at the start.
I hope you're proud of all your Insight team's achievements this year!
Inspiration and guidance for 2020
The IMA has 3 exciting developments for the new year, each aimed at helping you to build great capability in your Insight team.
(a) New Insight forum: We are piloting a new Insight forum in Manchester on Thursday 6th February at the Midland Hotel. It will be free to Insight leaders who think that their organisations might benefit from ongoing membership but would like to know more before committing themselves. Please contact us if you would like more information.
(b) New open courses: we will launch a programme of open courses on which members and non-members can book places. All the most popular IMA topics will be available, including Visual communication, Storytelling, Commercial thinking, Consultancy skills and Behavioural economics. Please contact us to book your place.
(c) New Insight leader guides: if you would like inspiration and guidance for yourself or your team members, you will soon be able to sign up for a range of membership options and gain access to all our online best practice content. We have published over 30 guides this year, and will keep adding new ones every month. Please contact us if you would like to read them.
Thank you for reading our 5 minute Insight emails this year. I hope you have found them useful, and would like to wish you and your teams a very happy Christmas!
Chief Executive, IMA