New Years Resolution: Encourage Experiments to Accelerate Business Growth

Let’s Be Real – Meaningful Experimentation in Companies Is Hard

Most organizations say that they encourage curiosity, experimentation, and learning, but the reality of the day-to-day grind and pressure to report business results leaves little time or patience to be thoughtful about prioritizing, designing, and evaluating experiments or being thoughtful about learning from business successes and failures.

Yet we know that changing the trajectory of growth often requires doing things differently. For 2024, consider infusing a bit of experimentation and ‘even better if’ into your culture. There are simple and fun ways to encourage people to test and learn, forging a path to accelerated growth, while delivering the baseline business results.

1. Create learning plans during the annual planning process. This will encourage teams to think about what they know and don’t know and help them prioritize what they need to learn to accelerate results.

2. Set aside 5-10% budget for experiments. We plan to our budget which often overlooks some budget for experiments. Even if 5% of the budget is held centrally, most teams will find creative ways to build robust base plans.

3. Conduct an experiment contest. A contest is fun and allows ideas to bubble up from all corners of the organization. When contest winners are announced, be certain that the awardees and reasons for the selection are broadcast throughout the organization.

4. Celebrate learning over success and failure. This can be hard, but at least for the experiments, start by asking teams what they learned. This helps teams transition from a mindset of success and failure to one of learning regardless of the outcome. Last, share the results, focusing on what was learned and how the learnings will be applied in the future.

Last, I found Amy Edmondson's book Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well a helpful analysis productive and unproductive organizational failure. Professor Edmundson provides a framework for failing wisely to learn and grow while minimizing harmful failure.


About The CMO Syndicate

The CMO Syndicate is a diverse group of world-class Chief Marketing Officers who rapidly solve growth and profit problems for CEOs, VCs, CMOs, and PE firms. As global CMOs from the world’s top companies, The CMO Syndicate is not a traditional marketing consulting agency, and we are not typical marketing or growth consultants. We are growth experts and operators who actually do the work on a part-time or project basis as outsourced fractional and interim CMOs.

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