[Photo: Mark J. Rebilas]
Large companies could learn a lot from racing. All too often in business, management uses data to employ a perpetual test run, rather than inform sound decisions and put them in play. Racing, on the other hand, demands decisive action. In racing, information is key and feedback is a continual loop. Data is collected on cars, drivers, track conditions and weather for real-time analysis and adjustments. Performance is optimized immediately, advancing the goal of entering the Winner’s Circle.
Face it: racing takes guts! Data analysis can be intoxicating or sobering, but seasoned professionals know better than to manage it. Instead, they use data to optimize performance. Marketing guru Seth Godin warns against employing analytics without action and says, “Don’t measure anything unless the data helps you make a better decision or change your actions. If you’re not prepared to change your diet or your workout, don’t get on the scale.”
With analytics, a void is filled. After all, they can provide evidence we are not screaming into the abyss. Still more importantly, logical analysis sheds light on missed opportunities, misplaced energy and like good racing diagnostics, aids in optimizing performance.
Analytics should drive better decisions, rather than calm inner fears. If rain were steadily approaching, and you were preparing for a race, would you look for data to dispute this or make adjustments accordingly? Look at your data head on. If it’s always sunny and dry, something is wrong with your data. Let your team know you expect them to give it to you straight and not embellish the data. Supercharged analysis has no place in the boardroom. Use data to make more relevant day-to-day adjustments to take you where you want to go. After all, you’re in the driver’s seat. It’s your show and you’re in it to win.