Get a crystal-clear view of what is happening in your business, in real time

Welcome to our blog a regular publication by Mantle, with a focus on business growth, business value, decision making and performance management, in other words, all things that make a business better.  Today’s edition is written by Laura Landmark. 

Crystal

 

As we move into 2021 one of my favourite messages is to “slow down”.

This seems counter-intuitive when everything around us is speeding up. Technology, innovation, competition, Corona; things are constantly evolving, becoming more rapid and complex with every month that goes by. 

So how to slow down?  How can we create more freedom in our lives to stop and think? How do we avoid just working harder and faster to stay afloat? How can we use our time more wisely to bring our best selves to the table?

Three words.. Organisation, Automation & Systematisation.

The feeling of panic

How many times have you experienced the feeling of panic when you realise you have been working off the wrong version of the figures? Or the feeling of desperation when you have spent three days preparing a forecast to meet a looming deadline, and then someone comes and changes some of the source assumptions. Ahhhhh, back to the drawing board, late nights here we come!

These kinds of issues are typical in excel heavy organisations where version control, collaboration, and flexibility in the financial models are limited. It is an inevitable and well-known problem, especially for those of us in accounts that are tasked with managing the excel monsters.

In a fast-paced, complex, and distracted world, we need to be able to make sound decisions with a clear head if we are to succeed in growing our business, create better relationships, and great outcomes for our stakeholders.

Management can only make sound decisions based on high-quality information that is communicated in a timely manner to the appropriate personnel. Fact.

Laura Landmark

There is no way around this, chaos in the informational foundation will lead at best to uninformed gut-based decisions, at worst to reckless, dangerous, and badly timed decisions.

We need to tighten up, to turn the proverbial spaghetti and meatballs into a nice neat lasagne!

 

Driving in blind 

I once had the unfortunate and very scary experience of fleeing a regional conflict in Kashmir which was breaking bad. We had to leave quickly and the only way out was by road as the weather conditions prevented any planes from taking off. We were therefore driven down the treacherous mountain highway from Srinagar to Jammu in a beat-up old taxi.  

Checkpoint after checkpoint was scary enough, but what was worse was when after a few hours the sun went down and the snow began falling thick and heavy, and then, ***t, we lost a windscreen wiper. We suddenly went from being nervous and edgy and very motivated to leave the conflict behind us into being on high red alert on this perilous 260km journey.

Hurtling down a dark slippery mountain with partial visibility was insanely scary, and ridiculously dangerous, but we had no choice, there was no way back, no place to stop, our only choice was to keep going forwards.

The ability to spotlight different areas of your business

Far too often business leaders run their companies in this very way.  Without good systems delivering clear decision-ready information, on time, they are driving blind.  

A business needs a good balance of information in their suite of controls to succeed. Including a number of leading and lagging indicators, this means key figures that reflect history as well as what might happen in the future.  There was no way we were going to get down that mountain purely by using the rear view mirror!

Management dashboards should include financial information, sure, but this is just one part of the big business machine. There should be just as much emphasis and information fed and monitored from other areas of the business and the wider value chain such as sales, procurement, production, project management, maintenance, R&D, as well as environmental & social metrics.   

We need a metaphorical high-performance wiper blade to cut through the chaos and provide a crystal-clear view of what is really happening in this business. This minute, right now. Whether the picture is rosy or not, it is better that we know.

A good business dashboard will give you the ability to spotlight different areas of your business!

Laura Landmark

Even then we are just scraping the surface. But a good business dashboard will give you the ability to spotlight different areas of your business, drilling deeper into the underlying drivers to see what is pushing the numbers up and down.

An effective business journey means everyone should know at any given time what they need to do to contribute positively to keeping the vehicle on the road and heading in the right direction.  

Back in the taxi

We all had a role in that taxi, one person was driving, one was map reading, one was shining a torch on the map, and one keeping two eyes on the edge of the mountain road (the worst job!). Plus we were all regularly hopping out and shoveling snow and pushing the car over humps.  

It was probably the worst night of my entire life and never to be repeated, but the only way we got through it was to work as a team and do the best with what we had. A better approach of course would have been to be proactive and have prepared ourselves and geared up appropriately, so we were never in the situation in the first place. That is what we want for our customers.

We proactively work with our customers to map out a clear path to clarity, then we start the journey together. And it is a journey, it doesn’t happen overnight, as we always say, there is no magic wand, bit by bit we systematise the processes, automate the data flow, and rig our customers up for embracing the future with automated integrated insights that show the whole picture at any point in time.

This is a collaborative effort, we do not do this for our customers, we do it with our customers.  Our customers are the drivers of their own race cars (no beat up old taxi’s for them!), and we are the pitstop mechanics making all the right connectors, plugs and plays ensuring things work as efficiently, consistently, logically and as fast as possible.

Business is a sport where every split-second decision counts, so let’s improve the quality of our systems so that we can create more space and time in our own heads to slow down, focus our thoughts and concentrate on driving our best race.

If you would like more information about how you can use technology to create intelligent insights in your own business please contact me on ll@mantleanalytics.com.

 

The greatest enemy of good thinking is busyness

John C Maxwell

Something to watch 📺

Ben is a scientist, and this is a one of a kind conversation where astrophysics meets business, an unusual but wonderful combo! Laura and Ben discuss scientific concepts that could and do relate to business.

Watch here 👇🏼

Books on the table 📺

Loonshots – By Safi Bahcall

Book cover - Loonshots

This book is all about innovation, cultivating it, making space for it, and nurturing it.  The book is full of stories, case studies, and concrete examples about how often the best results come from taking a leap in the dark with a life-changing idea, a loonshot.

This book encourages you to look at challenges from multiple perspectives

Bahcall, a physicist, and biotech entrepreneur is unfolding the secrets behind successes everywhere.

-Richard Preston, New York Times bestselling author of The Hot Zone and The Wild Trees

 

 

 

Thank youAlways end with a thanks

Thanks to: Stine Fjellstad for recently taking over from me as the new BNI Attend Team Leader. It has been a blast in 2020 leading the fantastic BNI through several iterations of on and offline meetings. I really look forward to working with the new team in 2021, they have already kicked off the year with a bang in our first online meeting next week.

BNI is an international networking organisation generating business through personal recommendations.  If you want more info give me a buzz.