The third step is to commit to your plan and carry it through. Step three is easier when you learn to protect that time set aside in step two for research. Set a repeating appointment in your calendar and create a folder in your email inbox for each research topic you are interested in. When it’s time for that piece of research, you will have fresh content waiting for you. Close your door and maintain this period as quiet time. Focus on what you are reading and do not multitask. Keep that window of time short but impactful.
The fourth step is to synthesize your findings with your team, trusted consultants and product partners to absorb the strategic significance of this information and to use this information to fortify your strategy. Step four involves taking what you have learned and using the good thoughts of others on your team, your product partners and consultants to help you to discover where and how this impacts your plan.
It can be very interesting when each day’s findings build on each other in a systematic way. For example, you might learn on Tuesday that Monday’s new technology trend is out of scope for your competition’s core area of expertise, but they are considering a related acquisition. On Wednesday, you uncover that the target acquisition’s stock is up and so is the stock of the new technology vendor. On Thursday, you discover that recent updates to a federal mandate will dictate the direction of a solution set involving key technology you read about on Monday. This information just put you ahead of the game. You realize it will directly affect some of your customers, and now you have the right information to give them timely and important recommendations on specific compliance measures. Finally, on Friday you learn of an exciting new development that will be a game-changer in your space. You now have a great opener to warm up that call you need to make to one of your new target clients.
Set your intentions on distilling out just what you what to know one day at a time. Commit to your time and protect that space. Share what you’ve learned and synthesize your findings with your team and trusted advisors. Take action to capitalize on this newfound wisdom. Finally, have fun with it. Before long, your too much information problem has turned into a valuable treasure hunt, step-by-step, uncovering the clues to your next great opportunity.