Times have changed. In the past it was the charismatic, energetic and lively leader with a strong gut feel who made the tough decisions and steered the corporate ship down the profitable path.

Unfortunately, relying on a strong gut feel for the business, the industry and which way the tide would turn is not a guarantee for success.

Those icebergs are out there and your gut feel will not always be the best mechanism to base your decision on in order to avoid them.

But, what if you did not need to rely on instinct alone? Charisma and energy have their place, but you can use those attributes along with one other key element.

The numbers. Use the numbers.

If you have the system(s) in place, infinite amounts of data are being captured about your business, every hour. Data that will tell you a story about your business.

Tough business questions can be easily answered like:

  • How has your business done?
  • Where has your business done well?
  • Where has your business NOT done well?
  • What is my churn ratio?
  • What is my customer retention?

And further to that you can further ask even tougher questions. The WHY and WHAT would happen IF:

  • IF I change how I do business in a specific area, what will this do to my business?
  • Where is my business going?
  • Why is my business performing or not performing in a specific area?

It is time to take your business from working in the past and the present to looking into the future.

As a leader, all of these questions can be easily answered from the data you already have in place.

You can base decisions on evidence available from the numbers.

You do not need to rely on instinct alone.

Is this “Pie in the sky” thinking, or can it be made real without costing me the world?

This is more easily achievable than you realise.

Rapid business intelligence, fast time to insight, rapid deployments, easy-to-use technologies, and effectively managing big data do not need to just be buzzwords used around a boardroom table.

As a leader, identify the key performance indicators, by which your business run.

These could be key performance indicators like:

  • New Sales / Customer Retention
  • Products sold / Profit margin
  • Trends / Seasonality

Once you have your key performance indicators defined, identify where this data resides that will give you the information needed to support these key performance indicators. Then, benchmark your key performance indicators​.

As my data scientist colleague always asks:

  1. What are you aiming towards?
  2. What are you measuring against to define whether you are doing well or badly?
  3. Are these internal or external benchmarks?

Once you have this defined, there are prebuilt solutions available that will not cost you the earth.

You will be able to base every decision on facts. You will be a leader that can now guarantee a much higher probability of success.

Your gut feeling now only needs to be used to assess how your business will perform when your country decides to host a world cup and how the influx of tourism will influence your business. And even then, your system(s), with a level of ‘what-if’ analysis, could support your gut feelings.

Numbers (data) are an asset.

Use them to help elevate your status as a leader from charismatic guy with a good feel for the business to effective business leader who drives profit growth through informed decisions.