How to select the right data to make improvements

Mondays are the one and only kind of days, when it is statistically proven that the best business decisions are made. You had a good relaxing weekend, away from the pressures and if you have set your mind up on Friday to think of something great through your reflections time, your subconscious mind has worked for you in the background while having a great family lunch or being out in a bar with your friends and of course while you were sleeping too.

So, you had a dream about a solution to a business problem you have and you want to test it out. You can go based on your gut feel and try to do something, or you could try something that engineers with a mix of statistician’s blood in their vanes do.

So you got a process, let’s say it is your revenues / sales in your business. If the number is fluctuating up and down, and you think it is a correlation to the direction and strength of the wind outside…. Than man, your process is out of control. But also I can tell that you process inputs is out of control, not the process itself. So if your brilliant idea over the weekend was to hire more sales people, than stop right now, because you will not only will have a sales but also a cost problem too. So have to start collecting data around the inputs of the sales process. Where you get your leads, how many, how many gets an offer, how many your sales guy gets to meet etc. Collect as many data points and inputs to the sales process as possible. Also collect market and whatever other data you can. Once you have that, ask the question How can I improve the “xxxxx” (put the process input here by 10%… You will see magical results.

On the contrary, if your sales are much lower than expected, but they are constant, than you have something wrong with your sales process itself of the people. Hiring another salesman or firing the sales director might be the best bet you have. Or just work with them and understand based on the inputs they have how come their results are so low. Can be your product or themselves, or the belief they have about your products.

So when collecting numbers, always look at the graph first, it will tell you where the problem comes from, and than collect the true numbers, and make sure you always ask the question why are they that much. Statistics are always hiding something intentionally of accidentally.

Enjoy the ride and deliver results!


Author: Gabor Gleisz

Internationally experienced manager with a passion for coaching people how to bring the best out of themselves.

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