One of the natural laws of the universe is “The Law of Cause and Effect”. Stated simply, this law implies that everything happens for a reason. Every outcome – good and bad – is created by an action or inaction.Cause and Effect – Killer Combo #1.
The power of Cause and Effect is that it puts the accountability on us to make something happen. How annoying. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to trick or manipulate this law?Unfortunately, we cannot.
We know that our goals (the Effect) will not be met unless we act to contribute to their attainment by choosing the actions (the Cause) to take. How do we choose those actions? Typically, we rely on data, research, best practices, theory, experience and outside experts. And just between you and me, sometimes we go on a hunch.
Let’s take the example of marketing. The challenge in a marketing program is that the results (Effect) can be unpredictable. Even if we have a good understanding of our target market, the customer needs, our differentiators, our value proposition, and put into play what we expect will cause the Effect we are looking for, we still might not connect with our target audience in the way we expect. The dynamics of the market are constantly changing. Economic conditions change, the competition evolves, the marketing channels change with technology advances, and the buying behaviours of customers evolve. This is where Killer Combo#2 comes into play – Trial and Error.
First of all, Trial and Error does not mean random activity. If instead of throwing darts while blindfolded, we begin with a thoughtful plan that is aimed at the target audience and is intended to make the most effective use of the resources available to us, then, by choosing actions that have much higher upside than downside, we protect our downside risk and positionourselves to attemptmultiple approaches.Measuring the outcomes of our actions is essential in aTrial and Error process andsetting the parameters for success up front is ideal…for example, “We will generate 500 leads within 8weeks of launching the new website.” By establishing the success parameters, we are able to remove some of the emotion and personal attachment to a trial, allowing us to take good corrective action in a timely manner.
What do we do if our trial fails to deliver the results we anticipate? Assess the extent of the failure – did we reach 400 leads or 40 leads? Decide whether to modify, stop, give it more time asis or replace it with a new idea. Reset the success parameters on the next trial and continue. The Trial and Error process is continued,with relentless pursuit,untilwe achieve our goals.
Being open to the possible (and likely) failures ultimately helps us to succeed more quickly. Seeing the Error as new information vs. a blow to our ego puts our team on a constructive path to success.
In business, these Killer Combos apply to product and service development, order management, provisioning, customer service … in fact, almost any aspect of a company’s operation. By getting our teams to buy into a rhythm of Cause and Effect/Trial and Error, we establish a culture of:
• accelerated results
• best idea vs. my idea
The Killer Combos will move our business forward in perpetual motion.