One of the most powerful tools that any organization has is in-depth knowledge about their customers and market. And while much of that knowledge comes from data and research, the most important information often comes from human interactions and conversations. We are all wired for connection, and the value of talking to people can’t be overstated.
With a lot of conversations taking place virtually now (and probably for the foreseeable future), the use of technology to facilitate shared learnings is vital. Most organizations recognize the importance of being focused on what their customers and their markets are saying. Let’s not lose the information that could be shifting our strategy or explaining why things aren’t going as we expected them to.
Here are 3 steps to ensure the insights you’re gaining from your conversations are being utilized to their full potential.
1. Establish the information sharing strategy and process
Not many organizations put the time or effort into establishing an information sharing strategy from the start of their company. Usually the need for such a plan is recognized too late, when the pain is already being experienced. So whether it’s establishing a plan up-front, or putting one in place years into your company’s journey, having a plan in place is going to be critical. It doesn’t have to be complex, especially for smaller companies with simple processes. The intensity of the plan will be closely related to the characteristics of your organization. Some will need to be very prescriptive and structured, while others will be fine with a looser guideline. But either way, if you don’t have any plan in place, nothing will be clear or obvious to the people who could be benefiting from the insights the most.
2. Know how you’re going to gather your information
Before information can be shared, it has to be captured (I know, thanks Captain Obvious). But if you think about how many conversations you’ve had with no record of what was actually discussed, you realize the importance of it. It might also make you think about how much valuable information has probably been lost along the way.
The best way to make sure everything is being captured is to make it easy and as automated as possible. You’ve probably experienced the difference between meetings where someone was designated to take notes vs. the ones without a designated note-taker. But rather than having a valuable person spend a meeting taking notes, let’s use technology to our advantage and use an automated note-taking app instead. Most of these apps can sync with your calendar and be set to automatically join your meetings. So whether it’s a conversation with a coworker, client, or market leader, no insights are lost.
3. Make it easy to organize and share information
Once you have gathered the information and insights, you need a system in place to document and organize it. Whatever tool or system you choose, make sure it has the ability to categorize the information, add tags for sorting and filtering, and supports the ability to set permissions among employees, so that each person is seeing what makes the most sense for them to see. A lot of companies use internal intranets for this purpose. Another option is to use shared drives like Google or Dropbox, and organize all of the information into documents.
In a time when information is flowing at the speed of our fingertips, companies can’t afford to lose out on the unique learning that happens from actual conversations. So much is being automated, so let’s leverage that automation to connect with the people around us.
What are some tips you have for keeping your interviews organized?