Without a doubt, the worst mistakes I have ever made as a market researcher came from one bad behavior.
As market researchers, we have to have an internal “pause” button. We need to know when to stop.
- When to stop and take a break from a questionnaire design with which we have gotten too close.
- When to stop doing data analysis and get on with actual synthesis and reporting.
- When to stop writing emails when we should be picking up the phone instead.
- When to stop trying to make sense of some unexpected result and simply state the fact, “We have an unexpected result that may warrant further investigation.”
- When to stop trying to get an ineffective supplier to be better, and simply replace them.
- When to stop and take 5 minutes before responding to an annoying email.
- When to stop trying to make a methodology work, when a new methodology may simply be a better option for a given objective.
Knowing when to stop is a discipline. But after 25 years in the market research business, I know that some of my best work has been when I stopped doing something—even if just temporarily.
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