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Monday, October 29, 2012


Two CEOs were out in the wilderness when a bear saw them and was lumbering toward the two. One CEO took off like a champion sprinter while the other CEO stood with a pondering look on the face.

When the first CEO saw the other one 'frozen' to the spot, he ran back to help – when close he yelled asking what's the problem, 'that bear looks really hungry!'

The motionless CEO turned and said – 'All the analytics are not in yet so I don't know what the optimal response is!'

This story illustrates a paralysis that some leaders experience when they get too deep into decision by analytics or relying too much on external measures and factors.

Before the computerization of records and measurement, analytics were done by hand and the investment in time and labor helped to focus what was important to the success of the mission and targeted results. Now that records and measurements are readily available for virtually anything about the organization, market, economy, and global situation.

It is possible to compare the atomic clock to the system clock to determine time-drift...but why bother? What would be learned?

SEO, OLAP, BPM analytics are useful – like the rear-view mirror in the car is useful, or reading a map before leaving on a trip. Planning for detailed measurement and analysis is effective when done 'backwards' – start from the desired outcome and back into the best way to obtain the information. In addition, limit the routine reporting to a handful of informative items – I had real-time access to a dozen key indicators, like cash, receivables total & aging, payables total & aging, sales volume & scheduled delivery, production output, labor-force & hours, and accrued vacation – which gave me a good picture of current conditions.

Sometimes we can get so caught up in measuring and interpreting that we delay action...and the bear get's us!

What are the most useful key indicators?


Thoughthebrowser said...

Perfect post for a hurricane.
Based on your post, the most useful key indicator comes from an inspired prototype.
Illegitimi non carborundum!

Jack said...

Thanks, Dick.

How many prototypes does it take to get a winner? For Edison it was hundreds - that was a good analytic for what not to do. For us mortals, it's one more then we've already done. A good tool for part of the cycle.

For process I favor: do, review, revise,and do it all again. You get a real fine point and get things done along the way.