3 Tips for Overcoming “Hurry Sickness”

“Quick!  Can you get me some consumer validation that our new ice cream flavor meets consumer expectations?  I need it in two weeks.”

Such is the life of a researcher; it seems our clients want just about everything ‘yesterday’.

This is the situation that cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman were describing when they coined the term “hurry sickness” after noting that many of their patients suffered from a “harrying sense of time urgency.” They defined hurry sickness as “where a person feels chronically short of time and so tends to perform every task faster and to get flustered when encountering any type of delay.”

Many marketers and other internal business clients show the symptoms of hurry sickness. Demanding answers immediately is an overplayed hand by marketers and clients.

What more could we accomplish if we took a few more minutes at the start of a research request to adequately identify what problem we really needed to solve and the process for using and implementing the resulting insights?

We hypothesize that there would be less unused research because the business needs would be better addressed right from the start. Don’t think unused research is an issue? Quirk’s 2016 Corporate Research Report detailed how pervasive that challenge is.

3 Ways to Overcome Hurry Sickness.

  1. When pressed with an urgent need, there may be no other option than to move forward to meet that demand. However, during the process it’s important to get as much background on the situation triggering the request as possible, even if it’s too late to impact the study design.  In the case of the ice cream flavor “emergency,” the situation driving the need (e.g. Is the request coming from a retailer? Is there a consumer-related problem? etc.) would be critical for crafting conclusions and recommendations. The probes also begin to reset expectations on how early to involve the research department in exploring future problems and opportunities.
  1. For a longer term “fix,” research team members could meet more frequently with decision makers (even just quick coffee breaks) and learn more about the pressures and decisions they are facing. These types of informal conversations can help to jump start conversations about future research needs, before they become urgent.
  1. To reduce hurry sickness starting today, use DecisionAdvancer a modern update to the traditional insights brief. It strengthens quality control, improves departmental efficiencies, and builds organizational understanding of insights’ contributions. Specifically, the tool helps to:
    • Clearly identify and define your client’s business objectives
    • Build agreement on what “success” looks like
    • Insure that the resulting insights are acted on by the business
    • Determine the impact of the research on business decisions