ORIGINATE
RESEARCH
82
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Don’t rely on others to give you the
answers; research your own in your given
area of expertise
Learn through original research (as well as that of
others). Initiate research today on what it takes to be
the best in your chosen profession and slowly build
up a picture in your mind of how this differentiates
from second-best (or worst). Then close the gap
personally by aiming to be the best.
You can learn much by investigating other people’s research and
learning from it. However to be wanted by any organisation you
need also to originate your own research.
There is limited value in regurgitating
published reports, data and conclu-
sions to inform powerful professionals
of what they already know. They might
be reassured to learn that you know it
too. However to impress important
people, including a board of selectors,
you need to venture into the unknown
and throw new light on some of the
mysteries that excite their interest. By using your own research
and providing your own take on some of the key issues facing an
organisation you will be able to convince the selectors of your
potential contribution.
Initiating such research is not difficult. You can start by explor-
ing the difference between the best and the second-best in your
Venture into the
unknown and throw
new light on some of
the mysteries that
excite your bosses
chosen field and garner fresh facts and evidence to illustrate the
differentials. The chosen field might for example be motivation.
Your research will indicate why one team is highly motivated
and another less so. Another area might relate to customer serv-
ice trends in the industry. Using your own support evidence you
will provide your own take on what is happening together with
your ideas for further improvement. Other fields might relate to
safety, operational effectiveness or correlations between certain
types of investment and long-term profitability.
You do not have to be a scientist working in a laboratory to
undertake research, nor does your research require a formal pro-
gramme of investigation and analysis. It is perhaps better to see
it as an informal exercise in completing a jigsaw puzzle in which
you search for missing pieces.
Research is motivational because it brings answers others do not
have. We live in a world where so little is known and irrationality
continues to override rationality. This is illus-
trated in the 2008 book Flirting w ith Disaster
(why accidents are rarely accidental) by Marc
Gerstein.
1
He cites for example cases of ‘irra-
tionality in financial decision-making that
led to disaster. The opportunity for organisa-
tional (and personal) improvement can often
arise when ‘in-house’ research points to irra-
tional decision making leading to
inefficient processes, unnecessary bureau-
cracy and disastrous decisions. There is so
much scope for improvement as a result of
research and the people who are wanted are
those who can initiate and undertake their own independent
programmes for this.
83
Originate Research
qu e st i on
What research
are you
currently
undertaking
to improve
your current
approach at
work (or in
your studies)?
1
Flirting with Disaster, Marc Gerstein, Union Square, 2008
84
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PRA C T I CA L TI P S
G
Undertake customer research continually with a view to
making improvements.
G
Undertake research into the organisations you aspire to join.
G
Undertake research into what motivates people in your
organisation/community.

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