Statistically speaking, we have a one one-hundredth-thousandth of one percent chance of dying in an airplane crash. That’s odds of less than 1 in 11 million. There is a simple reason for this and it has been the aviation industry’s insistence on recording everything and learning from every single tiny aspect of everything a plane or pilot does. When something goes wrong it’s never just ‘one of those things’. They analyse, learn and apply a change or improvement. The net result is the staggering statistic that keeps us all safe in a tin tube at 13,000mtrs altitude doing 1000kph. The opposite to this is a cognitive dissonance that leads to mistakes, errors and failure. In business, this mind-set will see the end of your company and your staff losing their job and being unable to pay their mortgage.
Some people think I’m a control freak, others think I’m addicted to statistics and data. In fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I typically avoid numbers, spreadsheets and compiling data but I’ve conditioned myself to enjoy it when I do, and there’s a reason for this; it’s because it underpins and defines everything our business does. It also underpins everything I do and everything that will determine whether our business continues to grow and continue be successful.
Throughout my career I’ve worked in and around production companies and agencies that exist and at times succeed in spite of their blissful ignorance. It still amazes me when I come across such a company that has no idea whether any one thing they do truly works or not.
As a business owner and employer, I discovered that the only way we’d be successful was by analysing everything we do and assessing its efficacy. ‘Measure everything and make everything measurable’ I’m often heard saying – or so I’m told. If you can’t look back and evidence what worked or acknowledge when things went wrong, how can you improve, better what you do or put things in place that lay a path for success? This is why the airline industry is so unbelievably safe – they do it too.
Everything you do as a business should be measurable and by that I do mean everything – and yeah, if you make your client a shit cup of coffee when they visit that’s also a bad thing! Believe it or not I have actually asked myself in the past if we make our clients feel like kings and queens when they visit? If not, why not and let’s get on with doing just that! It’s crucially important to me to know how everyone that works in our team feels about being here, what don’t they like, what do they love, what could be better? If I know everyone here loves coming in to our office and enjoys everything we do then I know that the people we serve will also be happy and our work will always be awesome.
Measure your efficiency and measure your systems, measure everything you do.
Now you might think I go around asking everyone in our team to fill out forms and charts every day and that I demand a report of everything that’s been done – actually that’s not necessary on every level and I’m honestly not like that at all. By instilling an ethos of responsibility in everyone in your team, everyone will be aware of everything they do out of a shared sense of expectation and responsibility and in that they’ll be subconsciously measuring everything they do.
Take our business development for example. To really make our new business development techniques successful we measure, on a monthly basis, everything we do to every pipeline and sit and openly discuss the outcomes. For every networking event we attend or exhibition we visit we write down ‘why we went, what we hoped to achieve, and what the outcomes were’. At the end of the year we sit down and add up the total cost of attending these events and calculate the benefit or new business that came from it. If we’ve spent £10,000 doing it and brought in no work then we’ll either discuss a way to make them more successful or we’ll simply decide to stop doing them. If, for example that £10,000 brought in no work and we never noticed or bothered to measure, ask yourself how many years of spending £10,000 would go by before it began to have a negative effect on your finances? Scale that problem up to other areas and you quickly see how dangerous it can be to stumble around without any idea whether what you’re doing is successful of not!
So, it’s a simple measure that could determine the future of your business if you really care about it. I care deeply about everyone who works as part of our team, and we are a team. That means I care that they want to come to work every day, I care whether they enjoy being part of everything we do. I really care that every one of us feels valued and equal and I have a sometimes-overbearing sense of responsibility to ensure all of that continues year after year – that people have an income and that our jobs and homes are safe. For me it’s actually simple, even though I may at times seem grumpy, staring at my laptop, I’m simply engrossed in our business stats, eagerly trying to identify if we’re missing anything that could end up bringing our business crashing to the ground. To make sure all of those worries are tempered I just keep an eye on all the things that make our business thrive. Measure everything you do and keep an eye out for things that don’t stack up and make a change or tweak to ensure it works.
There’s one more fundamentally important reason you should be obsessed with measuring; How can you know whether you’re fully serving your customers if you don’t measure the success of what you do for them? We implemented an open system of measuring via analytics every piece of content we produce across every campaign. The wonderful thing is the tools for producing an incredible array of detailed data are free and abundant online. It’s all there at your fingertips in practically every online platform. This means we can instantly assess the efficacy of everything we do for our customers and when things don’t go to plan we are honest and responsible enough to make changes for the better.
In fact, we took it one step further. I thought there was something missing in all that data so we’ve set about designing our own software platform that pulls video data in from a variety of sources and extracts previously unseen data, giving us more opportunity to spot when things are going wrong or going well.
If you care about your team, your customers and your business you’ll be reaching for that tape measure right now. Measuring everything you do! You’ll not regret it and wonder how on earth you managed to survive without it.