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Too many research reports are train wrecks of charts, arrows, and statements that simply play back the graphics, or even worse, regurgitate the detailed methodology with no forward looking implications.

For senior executives, it means a confusing (and at best, boring) jumble of information – pointing in all kinds of directions without really saying anything.

If you have research responsibility, apply this maxim for great strategic thinking from Gary Singer, a wonderful strategist and former Chief Strategy Officer at Interbrand. His comment to me was:

  • Good researchers go to the edge of the data and step back – to be cautious & statistically sound.
  • Good consultants go to the edge of the data and stop – to be sure they’re on solid footing & that the client will buy off.
  • Great strategic thinkers go to the edge of the data, formulate a sound next set of assumptions that the audience can comment on & agree to, and then keep going to expand understanding & get to revealing insights.

It’s a simple statement and hard to do, but done successfully, it promises incredible business results. Use it as your new strategic hurdle to clear! - Mike Brown