Death of the Moment: Paralysis of Marketing Analysis

Last week I went to a 5 year old’s funeral. No one should have to go through that experience but I won’t get derailed by the insanity of that topic. It’s not the first funeral I’ve been to; I doubt it will be the last. But, there’s always something about death that makes everyone stop, back up and say “wow, am I really living life to the fullest?” Am I blindly engaged in the moment, or am I conscious of how incredibly precious each fleeting second is? To contrast this, life goes on, and the disconnect between my salted wounds rooted in wasted time and the daily interaction with those who so freely de-value it, calls for even more introspect.

We’re consultants, lets face it; we see a lot of time wasted. Vendor evaluations with 10 players being pitted against each other, the decision maker who can’t make a decision, the penniless budget spent three times over, only to be retracted. This week I had to send an email to a client who was 120+ days late in paying us because no one else in my organization could get a response. What a waste of time. We all see this happening daily and we all wake up the next day and perpetuate this insanity by becoming accustomed to it and meeting it with the smiling face of acceptance. I’ve never been a big fan of acceptance. In fact those who aren’t fond of me, and there’s a few, most often find themselves in that elite club because they weren’t met with acceptance. I’m a big fan of asking “why?” – I’m an even bigger fan of challenging stupidity. For a consultant these are great qualities but often they are met with resistance. Resistance of change. Resistance to change is a huge waste of time because as the bumper sticker tells us, the only constant is change.

Death tends to be a pretty big change, but unlike many things, resistance to death is certainly futile. We’re all going to die. That however is not the important statement. The important statement is that we are all going to change. Take a breath and really accept that.

If you are resisting change, stop it. When change happens, ask yourself, “why am I opposed to this”? A lot of people claim to accept change. Resisting change is a really well concealed and highly practiced behavior. We’ve all learned to conceal our resistance under the highly praised guise of analysis. Analysis is a great thing – but not in the way it’s often used. When an executive wants to roadblock change what do they say? “Have we thought this through?” “Let’s explore all of the options.” “We need to do our due diligence!” Sound familiar? Again, don’t get me wrong; diligence is a crucial part of the decision-making process. However, I often see diligence being used as a wall AFTER the decision has been made at the departmental level. When another executive jumps in with heated tongue and the flaming damnation of analysis AFTER another executive has proposed change that has been previously vetted, I cringe. I cringe because the only message this sends is one of mistrust and resistance.

If you have employees that you don’t trust, fire them; you’ll both be better for it. If you are making your employees jump through hoops to promote healthy change, eventually they will stop. Humans don’t like conflict, after a while they start taking the path of least resistance. When the path of least resistance is the status quo, your competition, your partners, and your customers – they still change. While you stay the same. That’s the opposite of seizing the moment. Even thousands of college students with freshly inked tattoos know to seize the day. But somewhere between that drunken binge night which yielded that glorious neck tattoo and the board meeting they now sit in, they have forgotten. Don’t forget to make every moment count. Don’t forget that now is precious – because now is changing. Now is gone. What a waste of time.

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