COVID-19 has sent some businesses into a tailspin and left many others with constrained budgets. Disruption like this pushes us into survival mode—going through the motions and hoping the crisis will be over soon. That’s problematic when the crisis goes on much longer than many people expected.
To be more proactive in how you respond to disruption, you probably already have a largely untapped resource that you may not even know about: your data. You just need to leverage it more effectively.
Many businesses are sitting on data that could help them to overcome a crisis and emerge stronger on the other side. Whether their database exists within an Excel spreadsheet or a sophisticated CRM, they’re getting tripped up on the same problem —extracting meaningful information.
In its raw form, data doesn’t tell a story. Analytics is required to uncover insights. A smart strategy should be based on an analysis of your organization’s latest financial and operational data.
Where many organizations falter is in this analysis stage. Here’s what often happens:
What’s wrong with this approach? In essence, it’s undirected. It often leads to a mashed-up data set without discernible insights.
If you want to respond effectively to a challenge, it’s important to be proactive about your analysis. Think about the kinds of insights that you need, and then give your analysts clear direction before they start to dive in. Here are some questions to ask:
When your organization is up against a major challenge, you need to check in with your data more often than ever before. If you only rely on occasional retrospective reports, your strategy will quickly start to deviate from your day-to-day operations. You won’t be able to act quickly enough in response to changing external pressures.
If you’re tuned in to the day-to-day rhythm of your business, you’ll be equipped to make incremental, meaningful changes that build a stronger organization. A proactive approach to data can also help you create a readiness plan for the future.
During a crisis, many business leaders turn their focus to building resilience. But is this the right goal?
The danger of making “resilience” the byword of your organization is that it puts too much focus on reacting to problems rather than preventing them. But once you become proactive in your approach to data analysis, there will be fewer unexpected problems to react to.
Will your organization continue to experience external pressures that you can’t prevent? Of course. But don’t limit your future strategy to planning how you’ll respond to retention loss and financial problems. If you take that approach, you’ve already given up.
Instead, build intrinsic strength into your teams and business units to prevent external pressures from breaking in. With strong leadership, proactive analysis, appropriate technology, and the right operating model, your business will be strong enough to withstand external pressures and stressors.