I’m going to try to inspire you. I’m going to try to help you love looking at your company’s metrics.
I get it, you’re busy, focused on closing that deal, managing your staff, ensuring your customers are happy. You are time crunched and might feel that there is no time to stop take a deep breath and look at the operating metrics of your business.
I would submit that NOT doing this is one of the main reasons you feel you don’t have time. I am sure you don’t love running from meeting to meeting, from fire to fire. I don’t know a sane person who would.
An article in the Harvard Business Review, did a great job of describing what’s really going on. Every business has problems that need to be solved. This results in a “queue” of problems which build up. Your staff picks and chooses which problems to attack and since they cannot tackle every problem, the result is a pool of neglected problems.
If you dug deeper into these problems, there is most likely a root cause to each problem or some core business process which is not working correctly.
Consider an airplane, a very complex machine with a large number of systems (flight controls, landing gear, electrical system, bleed system, hydraulics, avionics System, oxygen etc).
All these systems need to work correctly for the aircraft to take-off, maintain flight and land safely.
Can problems occur in any of these systems? Absolutely. What does the maker of the aircraft put in place to warn the pilot and ground crew of a problem? Gauges, meters, lights etc. Very simple measurements are taken periodically to ensure things are operating correctly. When something does go wrong, the pilot is notified and corrective action can be taken.
Let’s bring this back to your business – another complex “machine” or system with a large number of sub-systems or departments (finance, sales, marketing, HR, production, R&D etc).
So here’s the question, how have you designed your complex machine so that you can diagnose what’s wrong quickly and implement a corrective action plan? What dashboard are you looking at to ensure the “plane” lands safely?
Can you imagine the chaos if a pilot tried to fly a plane with no gauges? What if they had no way to determine the altitude? This exactly what happened to John F. Kennedy Jr when his plane crashed off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. He was flying using VFR (visual flight rules), but worsening weather conditions made that impossible. What a tragedy.
We are not talking life and death here, but certainly the health of your business.
So, I encourage you to fall in love with metrics. Fall in love with knowing the 6-10 critical metrics or KPIs which can tell you the health of your business and warn you before you crash (and by the way, how much cash you have in the bank is not a great metric).
Having KPIs linked to the core systems of your business will help you smoke out any issues and keep your team out of fire fighting mode.
Your Next Steps