Business leaders need to see the world from a customers’ point of view, for which they need to rely on Small Data observations.
Some years ago, while driving from Poland to Vienna, my GPS broke down. Forget about buying a printed map. They’d vanished in the two decades since I’d last looked for one. My navigational skills are questionable and I’d only been in the area once before, but I had no choice other than to point the car in what I guessed was the right direction and simply drive. Remarkably, I arrived at my destination without a single wrong turn. When I puzzled over how I’d managed, I could only come up with one conclusion: I had allowed my instincts to run the show.
I define an instinct as an accumulation of insights obtained through decades of experiences, all guiding the seeker to an answer. An instinct is the art of connecting thousands of impressions. One can’t consciously explain how all those dots were connected. They simply were.
Some of the most powerful business leaders of all time share one thing. They trust their instincts. One example is Rupert Murdoch, who supposedly reads every one of his newspapers every morning. That’s more than 50 newspapers every morning. If a headline is out of line with what he believes his readers want, he’s on the phone to his editors. He has the knack of putting himself in his reader’s shoes, whether it’s a business reader of the Wall Street Journal, a worker reading the New York Post, or a British housewife reading The Sun.
The founder of IKEA was no different. You’d find Ingvar Kamprad running cash registers in his stores. Why? Because he was determined to understand not just what people buy, but also why. Sitting at the checkout stand let him interact with customers, one at a time.
“There is only one boss,” said Sam Walton, founder of Walmart. “The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company, from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” You’d often find Walton walking around his stores, interacting with customers.
Last year, NBC asked me to turn around a range of small businesses across North America for their Today Show. I quickly realized that these businesses shared one problem: a serious disconnect with the consumer. Time after time, owners viewed their businesses from their own perspective, rather than from the consumer’s viewpoint.
One of the retailers was a 100-year-old shop named Veach’s Toy Station. As I entered their store, their lack of customer focus struck me instantly. So, I lined up the entire staff and asked them to join me on our hands and knees to crawl through the store. I wanted them to see the world from a five-year-old’s perspective. “Can you reach that toy?” I asked. “Can you see that doll? Can you play with that car?” They answered, No, of course not. But wasn’t their primary consumer a child below the age of ten?
I’m reminded of the late Michele Ferrero, Italy’s richest man, owner of Nutella, Kinder Surprise, Ferrero Rocher, and Tic Tac. Some years ago, Ferrero was spotted on all fours, crawling through a retail store to test whether children could reach his chocolates.
Leaving the office and entering the world of consumers can be uncomfortable. Suddenly, you’re stripped of your expensive tie, your name tag, and your flashy watch — all those things that contribute to your image. As you join your consumers in your shop aisles, or even in their homes, you become an ordinary person. But how can you know how your consumer thinks if you never stand in her shoes? Remember my definition about instinct as an accumulation of thousands of observations? Isn’t that the secret of Murdoch, Kamprad, Walton, and Ferrero?
I will argue, strongly, that a successful organization can’t be run on Big Data alone. After all, your competition has all the same data that you have, and it will lead them to the same conclusions.
Data doesn’t create meaning. We do. The executive needs to be far more than a data analyst. He should constantly strive to see the world from a customer’s point of view. I believe that the truly dynamic business leader of the future, though immersed in a flood of Big Data, will need the courage to adopt the mindset of the consumer. He must dare to trust his instincts.
DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation in writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.
The TopRanked.io Weekly Digest: What’s Hot in Affiliate Marketing [uMobix Affiliate Program Review]
This week, we're covering everything from hustle culture to spying on kids, making this affiliate digest look like it has...
Stanford University Returns Millions from FTX
Between November 2021 and May 2022, Bankman directed donations of more than €5.5 million from FTX Group to Stanford University....
Biova Project Launched an Equity Crowdfunding Campaign on Mamacrowd
Biova Project makes deals with players in large-scale distribution and production to recover, store, and transform unsold food, or food...
Novo Nordisk Plans to Open a Tech Headquarters in Spain
Novo Nordisk increased its profit by 42.5% in the first half of 2023, reaching 39,242 million Danish crowns (€5.26 million)....
Immorente Invest Maintains its Financial Stability
Although the occupancy rate has fallen from 92% to 90.2% compared with the end of 2022, the company expects this...
Business2 weeks ago
The TopRanked.io Weekly Digest: What’s Hot in Affiliate Marketing [1xBet Partners Review]
Crypto3 days ago
Ripple’s IPO Plans – What Do They Mean for XRP?
Biotech1 week ago
Murcia Puts Out to Tender for €500,000 the Works of the Clinical Trials Unit in Arrixaca
Africa11 hours ago
Immorente Invest Maintains its Financial Stability