in Thoughts

What you measure reveals your values. What numbers consume your thoughts? The gross sales of your business, the size of your paycheck, or the number of daily visitors to your website?

There are days when I watch the number of people who read a blog post instead of writing a new one. Analytics are addictive. They are safe. They are easy to understand, and they are real. When they move, they show growth or recession—strength or weakness. We can picture what more sales will mean for our business, or what more money in our paycheck will mean for our families.

But are business analytics meaningful? They show that more money is going through your business and more people are viewing your website. But such metrics are always lagging indicators. They should not drive your choices, because your choices drive them. Daily metrics show months-old decisions made for or against your customer’s best interest. After a few days of poor metrics, don’t throw away such meaningful decisions. Metrics are transient. Your customer’s goodwill is not.

Glance at the easy, empty metrics provided by your business intelligence dashboard. Then, look elsewhere. Focus instead on the choices that drive those metrics. Who have you reached out to today? How have you added value for someone else. Where have you stepped out of your comfort zone and reached for something better?

“Buffett found it ‘extraordinary’ that academics studied such things. They studied what was measurable, rather than what was meaningful. ‘As a friend [Charlie Munger] said, to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”
― Roger Lowenstein, Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist