The Numbers Don’t Lie. Or Do They?

The Numbers Don’t Lie. Or Do They?

In a previous article, Business Lessons From A Champion Bodybuilder, I wrote about working toward the goal of being named Mr. New Zealand, and how I measured several things so that I would know how I was progressing. They were my personal Metrics (Key Performance Indicators).

Metrics/KPIs are important in business. They were important in bodybuilding, too. Unless you are measuring what you are doing every day, it is easy to kid yourself when you are weight training. To defeat that tendency, I carried a journal and wrote down how many days per week I worked out at the gym. I recorded every set of every exercise I did, how much weight I used, and how many reps I performed.

What are the facts?

You see, you may “feel” like you are having a hard workout and training to the point of failure, but unless you have done at least as many reps as you did the last time you performed that exercise (and preferably one or two more), and unless you have added some more weight to the barbell, you are not actually making progress.

The same is true about diet. You might be climbing the walls with hunger when you’re on a pre-contest bodybuilding diet, but unless you are measuring your calories and macronutrients, you may still be eating too much food to achieve your desired body fat percentage by the contest date.

I weighed myself every week on the same scale. I measured body fat as well, with the same person and method every time. I weighed every food item I consumed every day, referring to the nutrition almanac to determine the exact number of grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fats and how many calories I ate daily. I plotted these four data points on a graph every day, and plotted my body weight and body fat percentage on a graph every week. Monitoring my nutrition became a science.

Tracking my workouts and food intake was my “accounting” function. Your brain may be telling you otherwise, but the numbers don’t lie. It’s easy to kid yourself to think you are making progress when you are not.

It’s the same in business. You might “feel” like you are working hard in your role, dealing with the issues that land in your lap, fighting fires, and putting in long hours, but what do the results say on your dashboard?

Are you actually making progress on your Projects every week? Are you getting “The One Thing” done every week? Are you achieving the “green” standard of performance on your Metrics (KPIs)?

Are you making progress, or are you just kidding yourself?

We say “The numbers don’t lie” but when you are using software dashboards to measure performance, the numbers can “lie” if your Metrics, Projects, and Tasks are not kept up to date.

This is an area where I see many companies struggle. They want to run effective meetings, yet much of their data is either out of date, missing, or inaccurate. I strongly urge clients that your dashboard must always “tell the truth” about the current status of each Metric, Project, and Task – especially as you go into your weekly team meetings.

Unfortunately, if you don’t have the latest up to date information, the manager:

  • can’t see which areas are performing well, and which areas require your attention
  • can’t see which people are performing well, and who needs your help and support
  • can’t hold people accountable
  • can’t make well-informed decisions

You need good data to run a good meeting!

If the information on your dashboard software is not kept up to date, the software greatly loses its power to motivate your people. Keeping the data current, making performance visible, and, most importantly, holding people accountable for results every week is a proven factor to drive business execution.

Without current, accurate data, you cannot run an effective meeting. You are wasting your time, as well as wasting the time of those attending.

I would also say, without current accurate data, you cannot be an effective manager. You cannot coach and manage your people effectively. You are just kidding yourself!

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Until next time…
Stephen

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