Measuring SuccessThis is my great dilemma in 2017.

I want to track my progress using meaningful data.

Now many of you are probably wondering what I am talking about. However, if you look at data these days, we have butchered, abused and placed our own prejudices on data to the point that the data really doesn’t mean anything. Look at the unemployment data at the federal level.

For example, suppose that during a given month, the BLS gathers information on a total of 100,000 people from the 60,000 survey households. A total of 25,000 of those people claim they do not have a job and are not actively looking for one. These people are classified as not in the labor force. They are not counted toward the unemployment rate. The remaining 75,000 claim to be active members of the labor force, either because they have a job or they are actively looking for one. Of those respondents, 70,000 are gainfully employed, while the other 5,000 are unemployed but looking for work. Therefore, 93.3% of respondents in the labor force are employed; the remaining 6.7% are considered unemployed. The official unemployment rate for that month is 6.7%. Source: Investopedia

As you can see, the data really does not tell the whole story. From a marketing standpoint, I have looked at many data and analytics and at the time I may have found it meaningful but now the data is not as useful, and it does not tell the story. I can try and look closer at the analytics, but in the end, I have decided I might need to focus on other areas and step back and look at the process a little differently. I am working on the marketing side of this and still have not defined metrics that actually indicate where I currently stand with respect to measuring progress.

This month my goal is to find those key indicators that I can actually use to gauge our progress in 2017. I know many of you say that you have these key indicators because they are found in the monthly financials or various departmental reports. The question I keep asking myself is, “Is this information helping me better understand how I can improve my progress or do I need some new information?

Here are some areas I am looking at with respect to gaining a better understanding of how much progress are we making.

  • How well are we doing regarding follow-up with our current clients? Are we staying in touch with our customers’ needs?
  • How did our new customers find out about our services? (This information has changed significantly in the last 3 years, and I continue to watch it.)
  • What are the biggest distractions at our workplace (Human Resources Assignment)
  • How we can we better categorize the questions our client service team is answering the phone and through email? Are there any patterns?
  • What type of metrics do other companies use to measure progress? Apple? Amazon? Local Grocery Store? Insurance Agent? Banks? (We need to learn from others)
  • If business revenues went down considerably in one month? What would we do? – Why aren’t we taking this type of action today?
  • What areas are not working well? Need to evaluate and take action
  • What areas are working well? Need to look at why these areas are working well.
  • What items motivate employees today? (This area seems to be changing a lot)

I will be looking at these items closer over the next month and try to get a better handle on how to measure progress much better for clarity and to produce meaningful information that will help our company make better decisions. It will be my assignment for 2017.

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