The Discovery Process or Business Archaeology
It is surprisingly frequent that businesses don't really listen to their clients, accounts and customers. The old adage that you have two ears and one mouth for a reason, is a great rule of thumb for the "discovery process". Too many consultants develop a form of tunnel vision when reviewing a business's situation. And too many service providers believe that they have seen so much and too quickly assume a particular business is one of these past experiences. While recognizing, cataloging, repeating good and avoiding bad patterns is vital to good business direction, I think many assume a business's situation fits a specific pattern well before they have gathered enough data. Executing an effective "Discovery Process" for business counseling, or when on a discovery meeting FOR a client, I prefer to take a business "counselor" role and look and listen for the real patterns.
You are listening for the tips and edges of what may be a pattern emerging from the clutter. Or where a pattern should be in place, but isn't. Often times these patterns are buried in processes established to operate, processes that govern buyer behavior or processes that have been established and are repeated daily based on lack of much direction at all. But, because these processes are in place, their structure validates themselves and they may appear to be engineered with some business purpose. Digging through the layers of these processes should become more of an archaeological approach than an assumptive approach. Rather than leading the discovery process, you want to carefully uncover what is there. We want to be sure to uncover the rest of the pattern rather than assume we know what has yet to be unearthed based on the tips and edges that start to expose.
Patterns provide a map to what works, what doesn't work, and what's to come. Patterns help identify social media marketing, product release, and successful B2B relationship campaigns. Patterns are literally a part of every aspect of business and life in general. As another old adage states. If we fail to understand our history, we are doomed to repeat the past. Fine if it was successful. Unlucky if it was painful.
Listen for the solution. Use an archaeological approach to uncovering the patterns or lack of the correct patterns. Understand that the layers of processes a business has in place do not necessarily validate themselves just because they or the business exist. -Steven H. Waschka [principal business development agent]