Friday, December 5, 2014

How do you know you have done something insightful?

For anybody in any service type of function - be it Human Resources, Training, PMO - there are always two ways to do the role.

One is to take that little black book, a pencil and ask, at every table, "Sir, what can I get you?" (Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like - but notice, I did not mention the uniform.)

The slightly sophisticated method around the above is to use some really cool digital stuff to take those orders - like they do in fancy restaurants - where they use blackberry (then) or tablets (now) and that sends the order right into the kitchen. And sometimes they give you these buzzing thingies that even buzz when your order is ready (how cool is that). (But yes, again, it is exactly what it sounds like.)

Variants of the above include when the customer says, there is too much salt in my salad - to take it back and fix it immediately. Or when the customer says, the room is too hot, apologize profusely and talk about other things and hope that works.

Or, as I mentioned in my previous post, deliver insight. Now that is not terribly insightful is it? How do you know that what you did was insightful?

One is post - where you know that something you did is there beyond your time there. Maybe you put together a great learning idea that is worth being used even when you are no longer there - and you left it in a state that it will run regardless of who runs it. Maybe you changed the way they do things by perhaps changing the process or a system. Maybe you created something beautiful that is worth being used long after you are gone. But that does not help does it  - because you have to leave and then see what survived the cleansing.

The other is in the present - when your stakeholder goes, "hmmm..now you are making me think" or "I did not think of it that way" or "That is an interesting way to look at the data, show me what you got". That means, you are delivering insight.

But insight cannot be delivered unless you speak the language of the business, you can push the customer, you have powerful communication skills, know what drives the business etc etc (and you guessed it, these are among the 'challenger' competencies).

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