Image created by Yasmine Sedky (@yazsedky).
Squeaky wheels. They tend to get more grease than the rest of us. Even if the other wheels are more effective, the squeakers are attention-grabbers. And in business, it’s often those who grab attention for their efforts who gain recognition (and raises and promotions), leaving humble types quietly toiling away without due reward.
In a competitive job market, you need to differentiate yourself from your peers to get ahead, but that doesn’t mean you have to start squeaking louder. Nobody likes a braggart. It’s much better to have your praises sung for you, and there’s no better way to do it than by having the value of your work proven by data.
Being Data-Driven Can Transform Your Perception – and Performance – at Work
Whether you manage a company, a department, a team, or just yourself, using KPIs or OKRs to track progress is an effective way to stay motivated and prove the efficacy of your efforts at the same time. KPIs – key performance indicators – change depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, but most importantly, they are measurable values that demonstrate how effectively you’re achieving your goals. Most often, KPIs are also SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound.
And each one is a stepping stone towards your larger goal.
OKRs – objectives and key results – are similar, but a little different. This is a technique for setting and communicating goals and their results to get each person in a team moving together in the right direction.
Use one or both, but either way, you’ll be adopting a system of setting specific, measurable, realistic and deadline-driven tasks that align your team with the company (or even just aligning yourself).
They also provide clear direction, so everyone involved knows exactly what to do next.
The other perk of instituting simple data gathering and analysis is that it allows you to figure out what’s working well and what isn’t, so you can adjust your strategy or even find ways to help the company as a whole.
But the real magic comes after you’ve been pursuing these KPIs and OKRs for long enough to track your success rates.
Anyone can talk a good game. Most people do, at least in front of the boss. But few are able to back up their claims by showing a data-based trajectory of success.
And, when you have a suggestion, management will listen when you can justify your idea with numbers, charts or graphs. You’ll become the authority on the topic!
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