Not So Hidden Indicators of Your Performance

Good News is waiting.

With the focus on Big Data often times managers are too eager to turn to analysis to support decisions.  Not all answers can be found through R and a database, and a surprisingly large amount of answers can be found through traditional outlets of information - like print.

As a small business owner, or an entry level manager, you have to ensure that you support the goals and vision of the organization. Often enough these goals are listed in plain English on the company website or previous press releases.  If you can find the language of top management, you can find the indicators they are focusing on to gauge the performance of the organization, and in-turn your performance.  By staying zeroed in on simple facts that are readily available you can create a standard set of benchmarks that many within your team or section can follow.  This provides great general guidance to your staff and allows for more detailed goals and benchmarks within specialized sections that are sure to support a larger effort. Think of it as trickle down benchmarking.

Another benefit of reviewing public information for performance indicators is the fact that you can apply the same skills to your competitors.  What is it that your top competitor is focusing on? If you can get some insight into this question, it may allow for other information to make sense.  You may be able to find the common trend in their language that reveals how they focus operations or which industry metrics they rely on.  If you know where they are heading you may be able to capitalize on neglected markets or even beat them to the punch.  

Looking at Coca-Cola  you can see that they have focused on identity and personal relationship.  If I was an employee looking to make a difference, I would know that it is important to show community involvement and a world-wide focus.  While these efforts are easy to realize, they often are lost at the lower levels of organization due to other tasks and projects.  But these things are important, they are the public face of the company and the focus of efforts organization wide.

So, if your manager is lacking guidance and you have some questions log on the public website and look for the indicators.  You should be able to put together your game plan and keep in-line with what your company is doing.  On the same note, managers need to ensure that they are providing the correct guidance to their subordinates and ensuring that the language they are speaking is in-line with the principals and goals of the organization.  Conflicting information may not always be easily identifiable, but the results of such can be counterproductive or even devastating.

Take Away:

1.  Support the mission and vision first - then focus on specific tasks.
2.  Don't fall into the trap of backing up every decision with a graph or some new analytic tool.
3.  People are not dumb to communication, back up what you say with what you do.
4.  If you feel left out read the company blog or press release.