The title of this post is a famous quotation from noted business consultant Dr. W. Edwards Deming. And I agree with the sentiment. Mostly.
Retailers in particular are notorious for having lots of data that they fail to turn into actionable insight. The majority of leadership at major retailers have distinguished themselves more on intuition than their analytic abilities. Apparently their organizations have come to trust their gut feel. I will leave it to others to decide whether these merchant princes and princesses are some sort of deity.
The title of my blog is “The Art & Science of Customer-Centricity” precisely because–in my experience–it is the marriage of rigorous analytics and a strong intuitive feel for what will work that yields remarkable results.
Left brain and right brain. Yin and Yang. Starsky and Hutch (okay, maybe not the last thing).
We can all think of incredibly technically skilled folks whose work lacks true imagination and soul (I’m looking at you Kenny G!). At the same time, we can think of plenty of examples where we acted mostly on gut instinct only to realize that a bit more careful planning and analysis would have been a smart move.
Remarkable leaders understand how to leverage data and analysis. They appreciate that a scientific approach to even the most artistic businesses can be powerful. They insist that their teams push rigorous thinking. And they are careful to include the creative side as well, fully appreciating that it is rare that a statistical prediction or an Excel spreadsheet has the potential to create something truly innovative and remarkable.
Tap into the “genius of the AND.” Resist the “tyranny of the OR.” Trust what you can do. Let go of the rest.
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