Cutting through the data

Data, data, data… it’s everywhere. In the ever increasingly connected world, with the help of technology, businesses have never had this much visibility of their day-to-day operation. You may be thinking this can only be a good thing…right?

As with anything, too much of a good thing can be bad. The challenge with data is that you are only as good as what you can do with it. Hence, the exponential boom in tech companies selling fancy software to allow you to ‘harness the power of your data’. Whilst we find that these companies do a great job in displaying the data in various forms, be that reports/dashboards, we find managers struggle with utilising these dashboards and really using them as a performance improvement tool to drive their team, instead of just a static historical report.

The role of data in a business is to empower business leaders to make decisions based on facts rather than assumptions. Therefore, it is imperative that you can cut through the noise and hone in on the exact data you need, to enable you to make the best decisions for business growth.

You may be sitting there thinking, “I’ve got a fully automated dashboard suite that tells me everything”. If this sounds familiar, then we would really like you to challenge the current metrics and dashboards you are using day-to-day and ask yourself – is my dashboard actually driving performance, or does it just look good? If I could redesign it, what would I include? Do I know the correct questions to ask in order to uncover the underlying issues?

If you answered any of the questions above with suggestions, the first step we would propose taking is to clearly define what metrics you wish you had that would allow you to take your team’s performance to the next level. These need to be clearly defined, measurable and easy to generate/calculate given the data available. As Peter Ferdinand Drucker (a famous Management Consultant) once wisely said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”.

Once we have the metrics we want, we can start to look at driving team performance. As aforementioned, one of the big mistakes we see managers across all industries make is only use the dashboard as just a static historical report. As a manager, it is your responsibility to drive the team performance, not just report it. We class this by only using the dashboard in one dimension (1st dimension) – essentially using it as a ‘what happened yesterday, last week, last quarter’ and accepting it. A skilled manager will use what we call the ‘2nd dimension’. This entails using the information from the 1st and really drilling into the data to uncover the real/underlying reasons as to why performance was at that level. This allows the manager to act upon fact, not just assumptions/feelings, and to compose a plan that addresses the issues, fixing them and resulting in an improvement in performance. The skilled manager will be one step ahead of his/her team, asking the right questions based on fact.

As a manager, you should not be scared of the data; the data is your friend and ally. It will allow you to prove why something is happening and help you uncover issues. At Managementors, we really excel at understanding your operation in a short period, giving you the tools and skills to fully understand your current or new dashboard, to subsequently allow you to drive the performance of your team. If you feel like this is something you wish to explore further, please do get in contact.