Look at Business Drivers, Not Just Results

For some reason, many of the CEOs at my previous consulting clients like to review their companies’ results on a daily basis using top-line metrics.  How many widgets were sold, how many hospital beds are full, etc.?  If yesterday’s numbers for a  particular product or location are down, they often go into fire-fighting mode and spend time trying to figure out what happened, talking to the relevant manager, and planning a response.

This kind of monitoring can be useful to flag sudden problems, but it’s mostly a big time sink.  More importantly, it doesn’t provide any substantive insight.  You feel like you’re keeping track of the state of the business, but mainly you’re just going through the motions.  Looking at high-level numbers provides no deeper understanding into why the business is performing a certain way and can even be misleading.  Not that I don’t do the same thing.  I get far too fixated on the visitors and page views for this blog at times.

So what should you do instead?  Well, business intelligence, as it’s called these days, has matured into its own vast (and expensive) field, but here are a few thoughts to start with. Continue reading Look at Business Drivers, Not Just Results