Most of us are satisfied with the performance reports that we are using. Our operations are running relatively smooth. We achieve our goals month after month and year after year. We even manage to improve quality and productivity. Our employees are happy to work for us and our customers remain loyal year after year.
What else could you want? Why would you want to “mess with success”?
Well, if you insist, perhaps you want to sustain these results at a lower cost? Or maybe improve these results at lower or same cost? Perhaps your customers would be just as loyal with a slight increase in wait time making your shareholders even happier with increased profits due to productivity gains?
“Don’t fix what is not broken” is an old adage that has a lot of truth yet we must all be careful not to let complacency cozily settle in. We all know that in order to stay ahead of the competition we must continue to surpass ourselves.
To surpass ourselves we need to know our business thoroughly. We need to know where we are. We need to know where we have been. We need to know our strong points and we need to know our weak ones. We can leverage our strengths and proceed to transform weaknesses into strengths.
“Knowledge is power” – the knowledge of your strengths and of your weaknesses – the knowledge to ascertain your areas of success and to discover new areas of improvement.
Does your business intelligence, your data-mining, or whatever reporting system you use continue to help you discover new knowledge, or does it leave you staring at the same over and over again?
Discovering new areas of improvements is a challenge in and of itself, yet discovering solutions to improve these areas is quite another. The key is to know how to synthesize the tons of data stored everywhere in your business.
Most businesses do not have a shortage of data. The shortcoming is in the expertise to synthesize it into insight that can help guide you to make even better decisions. What can you do?
1) Ensure you company goals are aligned with the corporate mission.
2) Build contextual goals for each department and ensure there are no inter-departmental goal conflicts.
3) Build hierarchical goals for each role within each department. Ensure these goals connect to the departmental goals and the corporate mission.
4) Communicate the goals clearly to the employees. Ensure they understand the rationale behind each goal.
5) Solicit employees for their input in uncovering and discovering new areas of improvement.
6) Corroborate their ideas with data.
7) Guide your business analysts teams. Set expectations for them to analyze data relating to the goals.
8) Begin to categorize results of your employees, your queues, your departments. Categories such as year of service, education level, schedule, training, skills, experience level etc.. And try to extract data by categories and discover new ways to see your business.
9) If you cannot afford to hire business analysts to perform such analysis, consider investing in a reporting software like The Reporting Engine by Emetrix Systems, where it lets you categorize your data for further analysis.
10) Guide your Team Leaders, Managers, Business Analysts to take a step back and to look at the forests, not just the trees. Help them draw business decisions from a bigger picture.
11) The power of categorizing is much like the functioning of the human mind – it constantly tries to reduce tons of information into “categories” for example “chair” rolls up into “furniture”, and “furniture” into “household goods” etc…
12) The art of conceptualizing (categorizing) is a distinct human trait that allows us to retain and process more information in order to increase our knowledge. Leverage categories in your business.
No matter how successful we are, the marketplace always requires the best out of each of us. Having a way to discover opportunities for surpassing yourself is going to be a key to your future success. Don’t sit on your laurels, get up and look at your business for the first time. Start building categories, start building knowledge and start ensuring continued success.