Using Metrics for Greatness

How do you use analytics to drive success?


Even though you may not be as ingrained in data analytics as Chris McGill, six sigma master black belt at Cigna, using proper metrics and evaluation tools can help your team reach greater goals and help each individual perform better.

“You need to let the data speak to you and let it drive your behavior,” Chris says in this video. But he also says that it’s important to understand what evaluation metrics you have available to you and to have a clear plan of how to utilize the data.

Watch this video and hear Chris explain how to use data to help your team be greater.

In my world, data is everything so we need to make sure that we're checking in, we have a plan to collect the information and data so that we understand where is it going and we can course correct. Typically, we also have a check-in with our leadership to make sure, hey, this is where we're at. Are we still on track with your thoughts and visions and strategy? If you're way off course and you didn't check in periodically, then it's your own fault because you didn't course correct when you could have. So data is a big part of that. You need to let the data speak to you and let it drive your behavior.

I mean, there are all different things that as we teach or as I talk about data that are key. Making sure you understand how much data you have, how is it collected, what were the definitions it was collected under. One that I almost sum up my three-day class with is stating one simple fact, if they can get this through their head, then I'm really encouraged is it's really having an operational definition of what you're looking for. So clearly clarify what data you want and what don't you want and that goes a long way. And so even understanding that there are different options you have.

So what types of data do you have available to you, recognizing most of it's not available so you have to have a plan to collect it, collect it fresh I think is huge, and just being able to then listen to it. It's one thing to collect it. It's telling you something. It's like driving a car, your dashboard light comes on, your engine light comes on and you can choose to ignore it. That's data. And if you choose to ignore it long enough, you can be on the side of the road and wondering why, "Hmm, I wonder why I am not going anywhere in the car." So it's just like that with data. So we can choose to collect it, but it's something doing something with it afterward is what's important too as well.

So this is one of those things that you must do well. I mean, when we are collecting data, in general, we love creativity and innovation, but this is actually one area where you cannot have that. You cannot have creativity and innovation in the data definition or collection of the data. This is where . . . so we talk apples to apples. So let the data drive your decision making, help them help the people that you're working for and working with, understand that it's not just your gut feel, it's not a whim, but this is where the data is leading us. And be honest. I mean, again, this is where knowing how you collected it, why you collected it, what were the contexts you collected it under is so important because when you get asked, "Well, where did this data come from?" you can answer that properly and have a good understanding.

So have your solid foundation, a solid plan of how you collected it so that when you get asked a tough question, you can answer confidently, "Here is where the data comes from," and be honest because we all know we can let data drive or tell us whatever we want to say. But if you are honest with the data, honest with the collection, then allowing it to speak to you is very important.

Chris McGill

Chris McGill is a passionate teacher of all things process improvement related. His fun and engaging communication style helps him inspire people to make their world better. 

He currently works as a master bla...

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