I was asked an interesting question the other day, ‘Are you a gut or data person?’ ‘Do you make decisions intuitively or do you like facts to support them?’
‘Neither’ was my reply, ‘I’m a blend of the two’.
We all have to trust our gut in life and in business. That feeling where you just know something’s right for you, or you take to a person immediately without knowing much about them. A gut feel based, to a degree on knowledge and experience you’ve built up over the years and stored in your subconscious, to be tapped into when you need it.
But I also like to manage by fact. I like to know how systems work in my business, whether it’s my CRM system or my accounting software, I need to understand it. And I need to know my business facts and figures – how much I’ve made, how much I’ve spent, whether I need to spend money on advertising or on developing new products.
I may have a gut feel for what’s working but I really want to know the facts and figures.(How many who go onto Dragons Den don’t!) I want to know how everything flows in my business so I know where to invest and what to ditch. I need my data to understand what’s working and what isn’t, so I can get value for money and maximise my budget.
On the same day I was asked the ‘guts or data’ question, I was talking to someone who said she didn’t do processes because she was a creative.
Like many, she believed that the two are mutually exclusive. Like many, she didn’t get that Process gives you the platform of consistency that frees you to unleash your creativity for your next project, for growth, or even for a whole new venture.
Steven Spielberg and J.K. Rowling have systems – for writing, for producing, for their PR, advertising and marketing. There is a system to writing a book, and a series of processes that make up that system -research, planning, plotting, writing, editing, re-writing, proof reading, jacketing, marketing.
Process doesn’t diminish creativity, it liberates it, and brings the end result to market.
Systems and creativity go hand in hand – both essential in delivering a great Customer experience. Your Customers want the razzamatazz, but they want the basics first – they want consistency.
How consistent is your business? Do you know?
Do one thing: Start managing by fact. Know your key numbers. Understand the flow of your business. And start aiming for consistently excellent performance.
And if you want to know a little more about how to do that, download this!