Views from the Hills by R. E. Stevens, GENESIS II (The Second Beginning) E-Mail

But we have always done it this way.

Consistency has its advantage. Look at all the historical data that can be compared since we have adopted a consistent way of doing things. It certainly makes our job easier and faster. And with the right computer/software, cut and pasting we can make the work cheaper and easier. Through cut and pasting we can fill jobs with less skilled employees. It is hard to argue these advantages. On the other hand, time does not stand still. Look at all the changes in the world of market research. We went from door-to-door to CLT to telephone to internet research all in a researcher's life time. Look at how various test methods have changed. For instant try to find write-ups on various methods in text books. I went looking for one of the most frequently used methods, the Protomonadic or as some call it the Sequential  Monadic test design, and could hardly find mention of it in over ten text books I have on market research in my library. That method has not been around too long and it has gone through a series of changes as companies have become familiar with its strengths and weaknesses.

While things are changing we find that like everything in life, there are paths you take that lead to false findings. Not everything new is valid. While the new & improved can really be new & improved, it can also be new and not an improvement. It is our job to sort out the good from the bad. It is nor our job to hide our heads in the sand. We have a responsibility to our company to know and understand our profession and to adopt the valuable and reject the not so valuable. However, all too often it has been my experience that companies, or should I say groups within companies, will circle the wagons and prepare to fight any change. When the wagons are circled, people get hurt and unnecessarily. It is the real professionals that can approach a change and evaluate it on its merits. Frequently a change can be evaluated with a little amount of time and expense.

One of the most disturbing cases was the response of a market researcher when he learned of a bias in the way he was conducting Protomonadic Tests. He said that he would not consider changing the way they conduct their research because he would have to tell his clients that there was a potential problem in the execution of previous studies. He would continue using a protocol that introduced bias in his research rather than admitting the research could be improved. I do not understand why he would not communicate to his clients that there was a possible improvement in the way the tests should be conducted and that he planned to investigate the alternative approach. He missed an opportunity to be seen as a leader, innovator, creative, etc. within his company. However, I may need to remind myself that "dinosaurs don't dance."

In the above situation I really missed an opportunity. I should have recommended a good book for the researcher. That book is "Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers" by Robert Kriegel and David Brant. Or maybe I should have recommended Dr. Stephen Covey's book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People." Where Stephen, in his first habit, discusses Taking Responsibility.

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