When to Say “No” to Research

Image Credit: Luis Llerena
Image Credit: Luis Llerena

Jalene Bowersmith, executive director

These ideas are inspired by the session “Research Roadmap: Using Data to Make Informed Decisions” at the ASAE Annual Meeting on August 12, 2014, presented by Matthew D’Uva, Elena Gerstmann, Sarah Slater and Kory Ward-Cook.

Research is one of the best ways to make informed decisions about changes in your organization, but is research always the right step to take?

When Should You Say “No” to Research?

When research is just a delay tactic. Do you already have a great information base and the time is right to make a decision? It’s possible the request for more research at this time is just to delay decision making. It might be time to gently direct the board or committee away from research and towards a decision.

When moving forward just makes sense. Will the research provide very little benefit? Do you have a viable solution and an upcoming deadline? In these and in other cases, sometimes just moving forward makes sense.

When there is a quicker, easier way to get what you need. Rather than a costly professional survey, can you gather the needed information from a quick poll on social media? Can a small set of volunteers provide relevant information faster? Could some simple A/B testing help determine the best path?

When you’re not ready. Before you pay for a professional survey, or otherwise engage in time intensive research, make sure you have clearly defined goals. You need a research roadmap to make sure you aren’t researching on the fly and that you will stay within your budget. You don’t want to complete your costly survey and then realize you need further research to gather the needed information.

If you think it might be time to say “no” to research, check out these ideas on how to make your “no” a positive message.

Want to know more about association management? Contact us info@imiae.com to find out more about what IMI Association Executives can do for your organization.

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