I’m engaged in a bit of a research project at the moment. Working through a traditional process of observation and research, auditing to test assumptions, then meetings to see what should happen next and so on, but this time I am taking a slightly different approach.
In the past, I’d always be a bit nervous. I’d hold back what I was finding out until I presented the first draft of any report or presentation. I’d make sure I was saying things in the clearest, cleanest way possible, wait til it was all reasonably solid from my perspective before I shared what I was finding out.
If I’m honest, there is a drama in that approach that I like – the big ‘ta-daaahh’ of handing over something structured and thought through – the dramatic rise of the big red curtains. The thing is, it can catch people unawares, and create a bit of a backlash, especially if you are saying things that some people in the organisation might not want to hear.
As this is the year of trying new things, I thought I’d try something different this time. What if I shared my notes as I went along? What if I opened up my thoughts earlier in the process – when there is time to get other perspectives involved, time to see what might be more contentious, time to do a bit more work on how it might be best to contextualize the information to make it sink in a bit more easily.
I did it today – and although slightly nerve wracking it felt rather okay. It means I’m sharing more of the process as well as the findings, and that I hope means it might be eventually more impactful – have more chance of anything emerging from the research taking hold in the organisation.
Do others do this as a matter of course? Or are people more like I am usually, saving stuff up for a big surprise for the people they work with and for?
I’d really like to know if anyone has any pros and cons for each approach – and I’ll tell you in few months if I think it worked out better or worse than usual this time round!