Leading through an evolving consumer landscape

The environment in which we live and work today is neither simple nor static. It is patterned, but not predictable.  And while it is reassuring, simply managing the probable leaves us more vulnerable to being blindsided. Some problems do not lend themselves to rote methods, simple models, or sophisticated algorithms. However, when we treat them as different, complex, and uncertain, we can unlock solutions of immense creativity and power.

How do we as leaders make that a reality instead of an aspiration? I find that by exercising three simple habits of mind, we can consistently create an impact in the marketplace:

  • Hold opposing ideas without reconciling them. If it looks as though we’re confronting an either/or choice, we can reconsider our narrow framing and examine what we’re missing.
  • Don’t waste time arguing about the best solution; instead, pick several good solutions and experiment with them on a smaller scale. Data and technology enable this constant testing and learning.
  • Instead of hunting for the root cause, look to the edges of an issue for your experiments. The company's core is most resistant to change, but tinkering at the periphery can deliver outsized returns.

These are some of the ways I’ve consciously adjusted my thinking in order to more effectively adapt to our ever-changing marketing environment. I would love to know what habits of mind you’ve adopted to help navigate this change.