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Clerks & Researchers - Revisited

April 6, 2006 - by Robert E. Stevens, GENESIS II(The Second Beginning) E-Mail:

My Views of July 6, 2005, "Market Research: Clerks and Researchers," has stimulated considerable response. (For new Views readers, you can find this issue at the web site www.popsg.orgiviews.) So far none of the responses have been negative. Most of the responses have come in the form of questions and statements about the difficulty of dealing with clerks. The difficulty seems to center around the number of questions being asked by the clerks. While some view this as a negative, I see it as a positive. I see it as an opportunity for the researcher.  First, I like to determine why they are asking the questions. Do they want to be an active participant, do they want to learn, do they want to do a better job, or do they want to rock the boat and be a nuisance? All four present opportunities for the researcher, three are good and one not so good.



We as researchers (managers), have responsibilities in four areas: the client, company, employee, and finally ourselves. Our responsibility to the client includes not only the quality of the current project but projects in the future. Our responsibility to the company not only includes the quality of the project but also the development of the organization which includes the clerk. Our responsibility to the employee (clerk) is to help her/him become the best they can be at their job and to prepare them for greater responsibility. Our responsibility to ourselves is not only to show our expertise in research but also to demonstrate our leadership and organizational talents.



Keep in mind, you can delegate a task to the clerk, but you cannot delegate the responsibility. You can only make it a shared responsibility. One of the best management moves I ever made involved a technician and a part time secretary. I brought both into my group and let them use their talents to improve my organization. Their efforts not only made my organizational talents look good, but both ultimately moved into management.


A clerk once asked me how far they could go in P&G management. My response was that it should not be how far you go in management but finding something you really enjoy doing. But if you want examples of how far you can go, consider the Chairman of the Board when I was employed in 1951. He was R. R. Dupree a person who grew up in my neighborhood in Covington, Ky. He quit school at the age of 12 and became an office boy at P&G.  From the office boy job, with no college, he became CEO for a period of 18 years, Chairman of the Board for 11 years and finally Honorary Chairman of the Board for an additional 15 years. It can happen and it did.


You have a choice, you can be responsible only for yourself or you can be a leader. It's your choice. It's your future.


Whether we want the job or not, we are all managers even if it is only managing ourselves.

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