Categories
Actionable Insights

Transform Your Business Decisions: 10 Must-Read Books on Actionable Insights

239 Views

Discover the best resources to sharpen data analysis, decision-making, and strategic thinking skills.

Introduction

In the ever-evolving business world, actionable insights have become the cornerstone of success. By understanding and leveraging data, business professionals can make more informed decisions, optimize processes, and drive innovation.

An MIT Center for Digital Economy study found that data-driven organizations increase productivity by 3% or more and are 6% more profitable than their competitors (ERIK BRYNJOLFSSON & KRISTINA STEFFENSON MCELHERAN, 2011).

 Myths about Actionable Insights

Several myths about improving insights can hinder progress and lead to misconceptions. Some common myths include the following:

  1. More data always leads to better insights: While access to more data can be beneficial, it’s crucial to focus on the quality and relevance of the analyzed data. Collecting and analyzing large volumes of irrelevant or low-quality data can lead to misguided decisions and wasted resources.
  2. Actionable insights are only for large enterprises: Businesses of all sizes can benefit from actionable insights. Leveraging data-driven insights can help smaller businesses make informed decisions, stay competitive, and accelerate growth.
  3. Improving actionable insights is a one-time process: Actionable insights should be continuously improved and updated as new data becomes available and business conditions change. Reviewing and refining insights ensures they remain relevant, accurate, and valuable.

Research by the Harvard Business Review shows that data-driven decision-making leads to a 5-6% increase in productivity and output (HBR, 2012).

Top 10 Books on Actionable Insights

To help you harness the power of actionable insights, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 books that cover everything from data analysis to decision-making and strategic thinking. Delve into these resources to empower your business decisions and stay ahead of the competition.

  1. “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman. Explore the dual-system theory of the human mind in this groundbreaking book by Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman. Understand the biases and heuristics that affect our decision-making processes and learn how to make better choices in both professional and personal spheres.
  2. “Data Science for Business” by Foster Provost and Tom Fawcett. This comprehensive guide demystifies the world of data science, offering practical insights on extracting valuable knowledge from raw data. Ideal for business professionals looking to improve their data-driven decision-making capabilities.
  3. “Competing on Analytics” by Thomas H. Davenport and Jeanne G. Harris. Discover the power of data-driven decision-making and learn how to use analytics to gain a competitive edge in the business world. This book explores how leading companies leverage data to transform operations and achieve outstanding results.
  4. “The Art of Action” by Stephen Bungay. Drawing on historical and military examples, Bungay teaches you how to bridge the gap between strategy and execution. Learn to create a flexible and adaptive organization ready to respond to rapidly changing business environments.
  5. “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries. Eric Ries offers a fresh approach to business by advocating for lean principles and rapid prototyping. Learn how to test and validate your ideas quickly, enabling you to pivot when necessary and minimize the risk of failure.
  6. “Predictive Analytics” by Eric Siegel. This accessible guide to predictive analytics showcases the science behind predicting future outcomes based on historical data. Siegel teaches readers how to harness these insights to optimize decision-making and improve business performance.
  7. “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. In this classic business book, Collins identifies the key factors contributing to outstanding companies’ success. Discover timeless principles for achieving greatness and learn how to apply them to your organization.
  8. “The Innovator’s Dilemma” by Clayton M. Christensen. Christensen’s influential work explores the challenges established companies face when confronted with disruptive innovation. Learn how to recognize and adapt to these changes to maintain a competitive edge in the market.
  9. “Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction” by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan M. Gardner. Gain valuable insights into forecasting and prediction from this eye-opening book. The authors share the secrets of the world’s most accurate forecasters, revealing techniques and strategies to help you make better decisions.
  10. “The Big Data-Driven Business” by Russell Glass and Sean Callahan. Explores the opportunities and challenges of big data in today’s business landscape. This book offers a practical framework for using big data to generate actionable insights and drive growth.

 The Benefits of Actionable Insights

Improving actionable insights offers several benefits to businesses and individuals, including:

  • Informed decision-making: Better actionable insights enable more informed decisions based on data-driven evidence rather than intuition or guesswork. This can lead to more effective strategies and improved outcomes.
  • Enhanced performance: By understanding key performance indicators and using actionable insights to drive improvements, businesses can optimize their operations, increase efficiency, and boost overall performance.
  • Competitive advantage: Organizations that leverage actionable insights can gain a competitive edge by understanding market trends, customer behavior, and industry dynamics. This knowledge allows them to anticipate changes and respond effectively, outperforming competitors who may be slower to adapt.
  • Increased agility: With improved actionable insights, businesses can quickly identify and respond to emerging opportunities or threats, making them more agile and better equipped to adapt to changing market conditions.
  • Personalized experiences: By understanding customer behavior and preferences, businesses can create customized experiences that resonate with their audience, resulting in higher customer satisfaction, loyalty, and long-term value.
  • Risk management: Better actionable insights can help businesses identify and mitigate potential risks, allowing them to make more informed decisions about resource allocation and strategic planning.
  • Cost savings: By identifying inefficiencies, redundancies, or waste areas, actionable insights can help businesses streamline their operations and reduce costs, contributing to a healthier bottom line.
  • Innovation and growth: Improved actionable insights can lead to the discovery of new opportunities, enabling businesses to innovate, develop new products or services, and expand into new markets.
  • Employee engagement and empowerment: When employees are equipped with actionable insights, they feel more confident in their decision-making and can take ownership of their work, leading to increased engagement and productivity.
  • Continuous improvement: Embracing a data-driven culture focused on actionable insights encourages ongoing learning, experimentation, and adaptation, fostering a mindset of constant improvement and growth within the organization.

A survey conducted by PwC found that 83% of the most successful companies in their study were making substantial investments in data analytics to improve their decision-making capabilities (PwC, 2016)

The books on this list will provide a wealth of knowledge and techniques for improving actionable insights into your business. By embracing data-driven decision-making and strategic thinking, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the complexities of your business.

It’s time to take the first step toward improving your actionable insights. Don’t let your competition outpace you. Embrace data-driven decision-making and experience the benefits of enhanced performance, growth, and innovation.

Categories
Actionable Insights

Actionable Insights The Missing Link

338 Views

Companies need data to make good decisions. However, some kinds of data are simply not helpful. You expect your managers to operate at a fast pace, so they shouldn’t waste time sorting through useless information. You want your employees to make informed decisions as efficiently as possible, so keep reading to uncover the secrets of gaining actionable insights from data.

Collect Data With Intent

First and foremost, you must know what you want to accomplish with your organization’s data. After all, a bunch of random information is useless if you cannot analyze it with specific purposes in mind. However, you might not know which types of data will actually benefit your company. In that case, you should consult key stakeholders to craft your organization’s data strategies.

Organize Data With the Right Tools

Your organization likely has a lot of data to collect and analyze. Sorting through data manually and making it presentable can be extremely time-consuming, so you should adopt the right tools to streamline these processes. For example, if you want to identify shortcomings in your company’s services, then you should use a text analyzer tool to scan reviews on common search engines and social media platforms. The text analyzer can quickly find and count the most common terms and phrases in these reviews. With the help of such a tool, the data will be more accurate and concise, and team members won’t have to spend dozens of hours scanning the web to find out what people are saying about the company.

Make Data an Important Part of Your Company

Unfortunately, managers in many companies make completely arbitrary decisions. Without a data-driven culture, people may simply base their decisions on gut feelings or anecdotal evidence. Such subjective thought processes will harm your company in the long run, so it’s important to ensure that all team members understand the importance of data, evidence, and empiricism for the organization’s success.

Hire the Right Personnel To Analyze Data

Some kinds of data can be very difficult to interpret, so you shouldn’t expect every team member to make optimal decisions with all of your company’s data. While your accountant may be able to tell you how your organization’s current financial situation compares to previous periods, they don’t have the training and experience necessary to forecast a new product’s sales numbers. Instead, you will have to consult a relevant market expert to derive any meaningful conclusions from relevant internal and external data.

Leverage Your Company’s Valuable Data Today for Actionable Insights

Data is easier to extract and analyze than ever before. However, the abundance of data in the digital age can get in your way if you don’t know how to use it. Therefore, you must make sure to keep your organization’s goals in mind as you develop your data strategies to make optimal decisions. You want your team to use data efficiently to streamline your organization’s processes, so make sure to read our other useful guides for gaining actionable insights from data.

Categories
Actionable Insights

How To Get Actionable Insights From Data

347 Views

These days, the most successful businesses don’t make decisions without consulting relevant data. After all, why should managers put the company’s time, funds, and reputation at stake to make decisions that they can’t back up with verified information? You can’t afford to waste your company’s resources on ineffective strategies, so check out this guide on gaining actionable insights from data to improve your organization. 

Understand Your Organization’s Goals

Data isn’t very useful on its own. How will employees have any notion of how to use data if they don’t know what the company expects from them? Before you can make the most out of data, your company must have high-quality goals. Setting a target to increase the sales numbers of a certain product by 15% by the end of the quarter is an example of a useful goal. This goal is effective because it’s quantifiable, achievable, and specific. With this goal in mind, sales managers and marketers can analyze sales data, identify common factors among people who use the product, and adjust their marketing strategy accordingly. If your company doesn’t currently have any concrete goals, then you should meet with your most important stakeholders to figure out your organization’s direction as soon as possible.

Success Principles
The Success Principles
How to get from where you are to where you want to be.

Know Your Audience

By understanding your audience’s preferences, demographic information, spending habits, and moral values, your organization’s leaders can tailor effective strategies to appeal to them. On top of gathering data based on sales and research, you should also find other ways to collect information about your audience. Do your customers spend a lot of time on a specific social media platform that you could extract data from? Will they respond to email surveys or fill out in-store customer feedback surveys? Which links do they click on your email newsletter? Does your typical customer hate phone calls? You don’t want to engage with your audience in an ineffective or offensive way, so these are all important questions to ask when figuring out how to gather useful data from your customers.

Promote an Evidence-Driven Culture

In daily life, people are used to making decisions primarily based on whims and gut feelings. This way of thinking is fine when someone’s deciding what to do eat for lunch, but the stakes are too high in your company to make decisions without data. Thus, it’s important to place a high value on data in your company’s culture. When team members propose strategies during meetings, they should know to back up their arguments with some kind of evidence. You’ll find that, once evidence-based thinking becomes a cultural norm in your organization, employees at all levels will operate more efficiently and make better decisions.

Data Will Help Your Organization Succeed

Your organization’s leaders can’t base importance decisions on faith alone. For your organization to thrive, you need to know how to set goals, analyze your customers, and use relevant data to craft effective strategies. You’re always looking for new ways to help your company succeed, so take a look at our other helpful articles about gaining actionable insights to bring your company to the next level.

Effective Decision Making
Learn to engage stakeholders at all levels of the organization and execute a comprehensive communication strategy.

Categories
Actionable Insights

Actionable Insights From Customer Feedback  

482 Views

Customer feedback is like a treasure box. Think of the box as feedback and the treasure inside as information about your business and customer experience. 

Picture yourself sorting through the treasure box and coming across two stones, one is a cubic zirconia that you keep because it’s shiny and pretty. The other stone is a diamond that you take to the jeweler to exchange for cash. In this scenario, the difference between the stones is like actionable and non-actionable insights.

What are Actionable Insights from Customer Feedback? 

In general, actionable insights are important discoveries that you collect from assessing data. These discoveries show you what steps you need to take or how you should consider an issue. Organizations use this information to make decisions based on useful data. 

An example of a non-actionable insight from a customer is that your company’s app isn’t working right. An actionable insight is that 75 people have commented that the check out function isn’t operating.

Why are Insights Important?

Insights are important because they can help you develop strategic decisions. These decisions bring about positive results for your business. The reason why they are so helpful is because you’re developing them from your data. 

When your organization is driven by information, insights that are actionable are what you’ll be able to use to improve your product and operations. 

Where to Obtain Actionable Insights 

To obtain insights from consumer feedback, send out surveys that ask responders what they think about your services and products. You can allow customers to take surveys on your site at any time to gather a consistent stream of insights that are actionable. Look into micro surveys that your customers can take on their phones. This can help you collect more accurate data. 

Online reviews are another way to obtain feedback from your customers. Text analytics can help you assess review feedback. This type of assessment is unstructured, which means that it can help you gain a better understanding of your audience. It will also help you determine how your customers are perceiving your products or services. 

Social media is another place where you can gather important insights for your business. Add this information to what people are saying about your products and services on relevant forums and other websites. 

What Makes an Insight Actionable? 

Make sure that an insight reveals information about its priorities. After collecting the surveys from your customers, analyze the information to determine how important each area is to your customers. This will give you an accurate picture of their satisfaction levels. 

Focus on customer emotions. When you begin reviewing feedback, adjust your mindset so that you’re considering their perceptions and feelings instead of just how many people responded. 

Improve Your Business with Help from Your Customers 

Feedback from your customers lets you gain an edge on the competition by helping you tweak your products and services according to their needs and preferences. If you’re not sure where to start, contact me at the Productivity Intelligence Institute. I can help. 

Categories
Actionable Insights

Actionable Insights with Amazon Quicksight

684 Views

If you need to make an educated decision for your company and don’t want to search through a ton of data, Amazon QuickSight may help. What is QuickSight? It is an analytics platform that’s set up in the cloud. The program makes it easy for you to obtain business insights quickly and affordably. 

What are the Features of Amazon QuickSight? 

Amazon’s actionable insights platform is available anytime and from anywhere. The program is set up in the cloud. This means that you can use it from all types of mobile devices and from any browser that you have available. 

Amazon’s platform also lets you select your source of data. Regardless of the application or source that you prefer to work with, Amazon has the technology to link to it. 

With Amazon’s program, you don’t have to be an expert in data analytics. Amazon’s insights platform makes it easy for you to create visualizations. You can also use it to complete assessments and develop insights. Amazon’s program is one that you can use regardless of your technical skills. 

While the establishment and growth of big data is an amazing tool, most people have more material than they can ever effectively use. When you look at it from an advertising perspective, it’s common to see multiple reports filled with data. Work reports draw data from multiple sources like emails, websites, searches and even social media. 

In comparison to the abundance of data that’s available and being used, insights are hard to come by. These data-driven determinations are a valuable tool for businesses. Actionable insights are different than unprocessed data. For a company to gain access to insights, they need people with different work skills and technical knowhow to develop them. This makes Amazon’s program even more useful. 

How to Use the QuickSight Platform

QuickSight runs using Amazon Web Services. The connection makes it easy for you to set up the platform. The program’s direct setup allows you to begin forming assessments and visualizations right away. QuickSight comes with a built-in solution. It is called the “Super-fast Parallel In-memory Calculation Engine” (SPICE). This feature includes an in-memory optimized measuring system that you can use for data assessment. 

SPICE stores information on Amazon’s cloud platform. It is available for you when you need it. Amazon provides each account holder with 10GB of SPICE capacity. 

QuickSight includes tables that you can use to quickly analyze your data. The SPICE feature of QuickSight will help you keep your data analytics current. You will need to activate the automated refresher feature to keep everything up to date. The program also lets you customize your visuals and edit the filters. 

Developing insights is challenging but incredibly powerful. Companies that use them will be able to improve their product or service. This is also something that can help you improve customer experiences. 

To develop insights, you’ll need to have a way to collect data. You must also connect, manage and assess the information. With statistics, reporting info and visualization tools, you can produce the insights your company needs. This will help you improve your products or services, and it will help you make your company more competitive. 

Actionable Insights 

Amazon QuickSight can help you assess your data and transform it into usable information. If you need help or direction, then contact me at the Productivity Intelligence Institute. I can help you with Amazon’s program. 

Categories
Actionable Insights

Leveraging Actionable Insights To Win More Business 

699 Views

As an entrepreneur, you run into new challenges every day, which may make it difficult to expand your business. Naturally, you want your enterprise to grow, but broadening your business’s reach isn’t a walk in the park. Nonetheless, achieving sustainable growth isn’t impossible, and you can win more business by leveraging the following actionable insights.

Set Smart Priorities

Some matters are more urgent than others, and you should know which projects will bring the greatest benefits to your enterprise. Before assigning tasks or tackling any work yourself, you should have a good idea of where your business stands. What are the closest deadlines? Which projects need the most attention? Once you understand these broader aspects of your company’s operations, you can break them down into smaller tasks, delegate work, and set meaningful target dates. In turn, your clients will be more satisfied with your company’s work, and you’ll have more time and resources to market your business to new customers. If you’re not sure where to start, then you should sit down with relevant managers and department heads to assess the state of your business’s operations.

Analyze Existing Data

Data is invaluable when trying to establish patterns and understand trends in your enterprise. Luckily for you, your business has been generating useful data since its inception. Bank statements, time sheets, receipts, HR files, calendars, and any other written records count as data. By analyzing this information closely, you may notice patterns that may not have been so obvious before.

For example, after checking your HR records, it may become clear that the company experiences a ton of employee turnover in the summer months. Such a labor problem would surely affect your business’s efficiency and make it difficult to reach new customers. However, upon uncovering this information, you would be in a better position to gather more information and come up with effective solutions before the issue arises again.

Maintain Contact With Clients

A loyal customer is more profitable than a new customer. However, you can’t take long-time customers for granted. If they’re not satisfied with your enterprise, then they probably won’t have a difficult time finding another company to work with. Therefore, you should make sure to regularly check in with your clients to see how they’re doing and ensure that their needs are met. Your clients will enjoy knowing that you care about them, and they’ll also be more likely to reach out to you in the future whenever they require more goods or services. Moreover, your customers may give more feedback if you maintain more consistent contact, and your business can gain actionable insights with this information

Win More Business by Taking Advantage of Data

Information is now easier to gather than ever before. Thus, if you’re not currently leveraging all available data to improve your enterprise’s productivity, then you are wasting a valuable resource. The modern business landscape is more competitive than ever, so you need to stay at the forefront of your market by capturing valuable data and making full use of it.

Categories
Actionable Insights

Turning Customer Feedback into Insight

905 Views

An important part of management is putting customers first. Doing so improves customer experience and increases profits. To put customers first, you’ll need to make decisions about what to offer and when to offer it. The key to determining this is to find out what they want. Once you know, you can turn customer feedback into actionable insight

About Customer Insights 

Customer insights are an analysis of measurable and accumulated data that’s been collected using consumer feedback and other informational sources. Once you have this information, you can use it to make informed business decisions. The goal of using customer insights is to pinpoint behavioral trends to assist your company’s advertising efforts, sales numbers and customer service strategies. 

What are the Best Ways to Obtain Actionable Insights?

The best ways to obtain actionable insights include: 

• Customer surveys 
• Social media interactions 
• Online reviews 
• Third-party data 
• Real-time testing 

Customer Surveys 

Net Promoter Score, or NPS, surveys make it easy to ask your customers about your services or products. You can post surveys on your website or send them to your customers directly via email or text message. You can even create them as an interactive form that you offer during special events. 

Social Media Interactions 

Another good place to go for actionable insights is social media. Keep your company’s social media pages active and current. Be sure to post relevant information and images that will appeal to your customers. If people ask questions using your social media pages, do your best to answer them. Be sure to assess your company’s social media interactions alongside the things that your customers are saying about your products or services on appropriate forums and websites. 

Online Reviews 

A great place to obtain customer feedback is from online reviews. Download analytics solutions software to help you evaluate online reviews and transform them into actionable insights. You can even check the online reviews that your competitors are receiving for a different angle. After collecting this information, upload the data into your software for an analysis. Compare the results for better product or service development. 

Third-Party Data 

If you don’t have enough customer feedback for insights, obtain more through market research collected by third-party organizations. This information will give you an understanding of your industry’s current customer trends. Use it to identify the issues that your customers are experiencing. With third-party data, you can create better advertising campaigns, come up with fresh products or services and provide great customer service. 

Real-Time Testing 

With apps, online experiences and websites, you can obtain actionable insights about the needs of your customers using real-time testing on particular areas of their platform experience. Testing lets you see how your consumers are interacting with your platforms. For instance, you’ll be able to see how easily they’re able to navigate your system and find what they need. 

Why Do Companies Need Customer Insights?

Customer insights will help you determine what issues your consumers are having with your services or products. Quantitative numbers obtained from direct data will help you figure out what types of issues are happening while qualitative information from your customers will tell you why. 

Tricia Wang, a renowned global tech ethnographer, which is a specialized area in the anthropology field, gave a memorable TED talk. During it, she pointed out that billion-dollar big data industries are unable to be effective without qualitative human insights. When she held a research position for Nokia, she watched the telephone company fail because it didn’t listen to its customers. You can learn from their mistakes. 

Gathering both quantitative and qualitative information is critical to making the most from your consumer feedback, but make sure that what you’re gathering is something that you can take action on. 

Keep in mind that when companies embrace a strong feedback culture, they accept and act on feedback from their employees, which usually results in a positive work environment. Businesses often see higher profits when they listen to their workers, so employ actionable insights with them too. 

A Different Approach to Actionable Insights 

These days, project managers are searching for different ways to collect actionable insights. They want more than just numbers from traditional surveys. The landscape is complex and so are consumers. Getting to the heart of customer behavior and what motivates them requires a multilayered approach that includes several methods. When you take an actionable insight to this level, you’ll be making it easier for your customers to make decisions using better information. This results in improved customer experiences. It also decreases buyer remorse. 

Neuromarketing is an approach that many companies are using to gain insight into the motivations of their consumers. Neuromarketing is the process of considering physiological and neural signs to obtain insight. Advertising experts can use this information to develop better advertising campaigns, improve products and set up more attractive pricing. 

Brain scanning and physiological tracking are the most popular ways to gather information for neuromarketing. Brain scanning measures neural movements while physiological tracking measures eye movement and other areas. 

Academic studies have found that brain information can forecast the potential of products more accurately than traditional advertising tools like focus groups and surveys.  

After Collecting Data 

To make feedback insights actionable, be sure to categorize the information, assess the data and review the root causes. Categorizing the data will help you convert it into quantitative insights. Assessing the data will help you reveal insights about it while reviewing the root causes will help you determine if your products or services need updates. 

Increase Profits with Actionable Insights 

Actionable insights will help you increase profits by showing you how to improve your products or services. If you need help reading the data, then contact me at the Productivity Intelligence Institute. I would love to work with you.

Categories
Actionable Insights

Quick & Easy Actionable Insights Secrets For Productivity Managers

1,196 Views

In today’s business world, data-driven operations help productivity managers realize sustainable growth. With enough data, you can determine how your company is doing and use the info to plan for the future. The combination is referred to as actionable insights. Here are seven quick and easy actionable insights for productivity managers.

1. Install Data Management Technology

Make sure that your team’s data is easy to access by installing data management technology. For instance, a program like advanced business analytics will allow you to consolidate information from all of your sources into one simple platform that you can view and act on immediately if needed.

2. Focus on Workplace Culture

Keep workplace culture in mind. This can impact how your team performs, which can also affect your company’s profit margins. When people work in an environment that’s happy and supportive, they want to be there. Focus on your culture to ensure that it’s positive and strong. According to an Oxford University study, happy employees are an estimated 13% more productive than workers who are unhappy.

3. Encourage Completing Tasks in Sets

The book “The 4 Hour Work Week” states that there are ways to be more efficient at every task. Quick and easy actionable insights include completing tasks in batches instead of separating them into small chunks. To implement this as a project manager, consider how you handle data entry. Often, managers spread it out and send reports all week long. Instead, allocate a set time to complete it all at once.

For instance, plan coworker meetings so that they are back-to-back. Answer all of your voicemails at a specific time each day or week. Take advantage of automation to send weekly messages. You can also download social media software to manage these types of posts.

The thought behind this technique is that it takes most people time to develop a rhythm with each work task. If you stop and start different tasks, then you’re wasting time returning to your rhythm or coming back to where you left things.

Insight for living includes letting people set their hours according to their chronotype, which is a person’s natural body clock. Every human has a unique chronotype that has high energy points and low ones. About 10% of people are larks. This means that they have the most energy in the morning. An estimated 20% of people are owls. These folks work best at night. Everyone else is somewhere in between. Try to let people work when their energy levels are at their highest.

4. Complete Your Most Important Jobs First

Author Steven Covey covers this in-depth in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” In the book, he advises the reader to put “first things first.” When you follow this recommendation, you’ll be prioritizing your daily tasks—work at being disciplined enough to do jobs when you don’t want to. Focus on managing yourself instead of your time. For this tip, consider the Pareto Principle, which states, “80% of your results come from 20% of your time.”

Stop thinking of every decision as equally important. Jeff Bezos famously refers to decisions as type one or type 2. Type one decisions are big, scary, and high stakes, while type two decisions are ones that you can undo if needed. Most decisions are type two, so you should be able to make them fast. When you consider fewer decisions as type one, the less time you’ll spend communicating with others.

5. Be Efficient with Staff Meetings

Most people have participated in business meetings that they felt were a waste of time. Quick and easy business insights for project managers include holding useful meetings. Make sure that you’re creating an agenda and a goal for each session. If you’re not able to follow through with this step for a particular meeting, then cancel it.

Be respectful of each person’s time. If you schedule the meeting for an hour, make sure that you end it on time. You can end it early if you finish up before the hour is up, but don’t go over the hour. Prevent issues from developing and keep your team’s productivity levels high with clear planning steps that ensure you follow through with each meeting’s goal.

6. Consider Working Remotely

Office environments can encourage collective energy and give you access to more resources. They can also diminish your team’s productivity. Team members might interrupt coworkers who are in the middle of a project because they believe that they are experiencing an urgent matter while most of these issues are not urgent and can be dealt with later.

The Harvard Business Review conducted a study that determined when people worked from home; they were more productive. Remote staff members are also less likely to leave the company. This insight reveals that people are more content at home. If shifting to remote work is impossible, consider implementing a hybrid work environment in which some of the time is spent at the office, and some are spent working from home.

7. Focus on Engagement by Building Trust

One of today’s top management challenges is how to inspire and challenge workforces. When employees have a powerful connection to their job and coworkers, they feel like they are contributing in a positive way. This results in consistently positive outcomes for the company and its staff.

A critical key to building this type of culture is trust. Foster trust by:

• Recognizing worker excellence
• Assigning challenging jobs that are possible to achieve
• Giving people freedom over how they work
• Sharing information

Business Insights for Project Managers

Embrace these seven business insights to help your teams and company operate more effectively. If you need more guidance, contact us at the Productivity Intelligence Institute.

Categories
Actionable Insights

Turning Data into Actionable Insights

1,269 Views

Big data is both a gift and a challenge. Today, businesses have access to mountains of information ripe for interpretation. Without a strategy for data analysis, organizations will spend time and money on a fruitless search for meaning. According to a recent survey of 1200 companies by DNV, only 23% had developed plans for interpreting and applying insights from data.

Missing out on data-centered decision-making will place a business behind the competition. However, amassing the most data does not guarantee success. The goal is to turn relevant data into actionable insights.

From Raw Data to Information

Any kind of measurement can become raw data. The number of widgets your company sold last Tuesday is one piece of data. The number of chairs in your office is another. A spreadsheet full of data points will not lead to actionable insights on its own. Before data can be useful, it must be delivered as information.

Information is processed data. It may take the form of written reports, bar graphs, and other visual representations. Moving toward information also means putting aside data that is not pertinent.

From Information to Insight

Information is easier to interpret than raw numbers, but it has not yet reached the level of insight. The report must be placed in the broader context of the business. Your team may have sold 600 widgets last Tuesday. Is that an unusual number for a Tuesday? Does that number represent a single order by a widget enthusiast or 600 separate orders? Information linked to contextual concerns yields an insight.

What are actionable insights?

Not every insight will be an actionable insight. Sometimes, insights pulled from data will simply confirm that a strategy is on the right track. You had a flash sale on widgets last Tuesday, and the increased sales numbers show that it worked.

Processes like data segmentation might yield actionable insight. Most of last Tuesday’s sales went to people in their 20s. There is an untapped widget market, and your marketing team will now adapt the next campaign accordingly.

Steps to Develop Actionable Insights

Turning raw data into full-fledged data insights is an intentional process. Businesses must work so that data becomes a tool they can use rather than a time-consuming burden.

Start with a Question

You want data collection to help your team make informed decisions. To that end, it best to start with a question or decision that the data will inform. Knowing that you are focused on the sales of a single product will limit the amount of data you need to analyze. Seeking to learn information about your average client will have you poring over a different set of data points. Keeping things specific will help you focus your efforts and lead to meaningful insights.

Look for Trends

An unexpected number may be interesting, but it is less helpful for decision-making than a series of data points. You do not want to base your company’s future on a number that may have come from an unusual day. Trends of growth, decline, or other changes over time need your attention. For the health of your business, it is better to respond to a long-term trend than to react to a single data point.

Examine the Context

If data is the What, context establishes the Why. Once a trend shows up on your radar, it is time to examine the factors causing it. In most cases, your business strategy will not respond to the data but the forces that fuel the trend. Changes in sales data might reflect changes in consumer culture, a potential new client base, or the growth of a competitor. When you know the reason for the trend, you can address it systematically.

Share the Information

Psychologists will point to common issues that come up in data analysis. Analysis performed in a vacuum is subject to confirmation bias. Analysts look at the data only to find that it confirms what they already believe. Limiting your analysis to one or two leaders may also subject the process to cultural, age, or gender bias. A diverse group of people analyzing the data can prevent these effects.

The Data-Centered Organization

New data analytics and reporting tools make data interpretation accessible to all your employees. A business shaped by responding to data trends will make its decisions ahead of competitors. A few practical steps will help you make the transition.

Eliminate Data Silos

Older business models tended to limit data access. Integrated software makes it possible for everyone to see the same data reports, making it easier for the whole organization to work with meaningful information.

Keep It Relevant

Work with your teams to see what data is relevant to their area of expertise. Later on, they may ask for data from other groups to seek out connections. In the beginning, you do not want to overwhelm people with data they will not use.

Share Insights

Encourage people to share their data insights with others. This practice will help people see that you take data seriously and welcome their input. Every team should approach this process by asking, “What are actionable insights?”

Helping You Move from Data to Action

At the Leonard Productivity Intelligence Institute, my goal is to help entrepreneurs and other business leaders move toward their goals. If you need help transforming raw data into informed decisions, I would be happy to work with you. Contact me today for more information.

Categories
Actionable Insights

Dos and Don’ts of Faking It Til You Make It

1,641 Views

Most people have heard the phrase “fake it til you make it.” After all, the statement has been around since the 1970s, and it’s common to share it when you’re encouraging others to pretend to be a certain way until they develop the information or leadership skills that embody it. However, there’s very little wiggle room between faking it and lying. Here are the dos and don’ts of faking it until you make it.

The Dos of Faking it Til You Make It

When you fake something for the right purpose, it’s likely to make you a better person, but if you’re not, then you’ll be making it challenging for others to trust you. How do you know that you’re faking something for the right reason? Faking behavior is usually on the up-and-up, but when you pretend that you have a competency that you don’t, it’s not a good idea.

Many folks have some part of their personality or basic character that they would like to change. For instance, it’s common to want to be more confident or organized. When you pinpoint your character’s past that you would like to change, you can start making it a reality. As you focus on it and work toward it, the character element you want will become a natural part of who you are.

Confidence is something that you may be able to legitimately fake until you build it. If you’re starting as an entrepreneur or working toward a job promotion, you’ll likely have to embrace public speaking at some time. You might have to deliver a presentation to a large group, share an idea during a work meeting or ask a donor for funding.

Even if you’re comfortable with the information that you’re sharing, you might struggle with the idea of being the center of attention. To reach your end goal, you’ll need to push yourself to do the task that requires confidence. Do your best to ignore your fears, stand tall and share your message. Most likely, no one will have the slightest idea that you were nervous because you pretended that you weren’t.

To fake being organized, make a lot of reminders for yourself. Write things out to see the best way to put something together like a presentation. Also, work to complete every task that you start, including small everyday ones at home.

A common coping technique of entrepreneurs is to pretend “as if.” The technique is based on the theory that if you act like someone you want to be, then you can make it a real thing. For instance, if you’re going to feel happier, then practice what happy people do, smile. If you want to accomplish more at work, then act like you’re a diligent worker. You’ll likely increase your productivity.

The Don’ts of Faking It

When should you avoid faking it? Don’t fake a core ability or skill. People cannot pretend that they are competent at something in the same way that they can fake confidence. The bad news is that you can’t just want to be better at a skill or ability. When it comes to abilities and skills, you can either do them or you can’t. If you tell others that you can do something that you can’t do, you have crossed the line and are lying to them.

For instance, you can’t fake fluency in a foreign language if you only know a few phrases. If you tell a financial investor that you understand the stock market when you don’t, then you’re putting his or her money at risk. It’s also lying to tell a client that a product will do something that it can’t accomplish.

The don’ts of faking it until you make it include not lying about your company or what your products do. If you fake it, then someone will catch you eventually, and you’ll lose credibility and overall trust. You’ll also damage your reputation, which is hard to rebuild.

When you’re faking a characteristic that isn’t natural, it could come off badly. For instance, when you’re trying to act confident, you may come across as being a braggart or that you’re better than others so be careful when faking it.

When to Fake It Til You Make It

Managing people well means establishing an atmosphere of inclusivity. Work to make every person in your business feel important. Also, as you become more comfortable, take steps to decrease what you’re faking. There is a right and wrong time to fake it. I can help you learn how to focus and establish feelings that may not come to you naturally. Contact me today to learn more.