Most of us are great at creating plans and producing ideas. We see a problem and want to solve it. Working in a group brainstorming can be exciting. It can bind a group together. And it is an important aspect to change.
And while creating solutions is essential, the truth is, it is harder to implement those ideas or more accurately, to implement them effectively. There are several factors that affect the successful implementation of new ideas. Today we are going to take a quick look at the use of data.
Focused and on target
Try this. Go outside. Look off in the distance—about a hundred feet or so—and pick a landmark. It can be a tree or a pole or store. Now, look down at your feet, and start walking toward that landmark. Don’t look up (please make sure that the landmark is in an area free of traffic). After about 30 steps look up—are you still moving toward the landmark? Or have you veered a bit?
The landmark is the final outcome we want. Looking up is our data check to see if we are still on target. If when we look up and we are not, then we use that data to correct ourselves.
Staying on target is hard work
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine if you are staying on target:
- Is there a clear understanding of what you want to do, why you are doing it and how you are going to do it? Does your team share that understanding?
- Have you indentified the data that will let you know you are achieving your goals? Have you shared that with your team?
- Have you set benchmarks or milestones that are observable and measurable? Is your team aware of these benchmarks or milestones?
- Are you reaching out to the people doing the work for their input? What is the system in place to do that?
- Are you collecting and analyzing all of this information? Who is doing it and when?
- Do you use that information to tweak what you are doing?
- Are you sharing what you are learning so everyone can make use of it? How is that sharing taking place?
Staying on target is as important, if not more important to reaching our objectives. We know that keeping our eye on the prize is essential, but stopping along the way to make sure you and your team have not drifted off is also essential. Effective leaders prevent drift by using data.
Just as the brainstorming phase can be binding and exciting, implemented correctly data collection and analysis can be empowering.