Every organisation, sector and industry is facing the realities of massive demographic shifts, social and cultural change, rising complexity and advances in technology. 2020 has made it more clear than ever, that to thrive in times of change, organisations need to innovate and respond.

For a great leader, the future is not an inevitable destination but something they are shaping and to which they will take their team. In order to do this well, leaders need insight, foresight and confidence when making decisions.

One way to obtain this is to utilise evidence-based insights, rather than just gut feel, when making decisions. This is the power of research – to confirm, deny or challenge a hypothesis, so that leaders can make informed decisions.

So, how do leaders go about this? Here are some simple steps to help you start on the journey.

1. Gather the data

Responding to the changing trends can seem overwhelming, but the first step is to work out the type of data to gather and the best methodology by which to do it.

Whether it is internal data sets and trends you need to gather or conduct new research like surveys or focus groups – gathering data is the crucial first step.

2. Understand the trends

Once the data is gathered, it is important to spend time analysing and understanding the story behind it. By understanding both the external big picture trends at play as well as the unique nuances that define your sector or industry, leaders can gain a more comprehensive understanding of the trends.

To get to know a group of stakeholders, take the time to not just listen but truly hear them. Ask yourself, what is the data saying about the clients, customers, community or employees that the organisation serves? By listening to and understanding their desires and expectations, leaders can make the best informed decisions.

3. Guide the journey

Leaders need to not only observe the trends but understand and respond to them. Once the data has been collected and understood, the next step is to communicate it well to those around you, and to allow it to advise you on the journey.

With more data available to leaders than ever before, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. At McCrindle this is our bread and butter. We love helping organisations to collect, analyse and visualise evidence-based insights. We also help be advising organisations on the implications of these insights, so if we can assist in any way – please get in touch. Because when leaders allow evidence-based insights to help guide their decisions, they are in a position to lead well in these rapidly changing times.

 

AA Understanding the Future Consumer