In the first part of this blog series, we talked about how to measure what matters when it comes to data. In this post, we tackle a much more important question: Why does it matter? How would making sense of the data our companies have collected actually have an impact on us personally? How can we use data to help us connect emotionally with our employees and customers?

Before we start, let’s be clear: Data is information. It is often assumed that data is just the records and tables that are captured by our business systems but it is (and should be) so much more than that. Anything that can inform the business is data and that’s why we should always be looking beyond the bits and bytes.

Can data really transform?

According to the Harvard Business Review, data-driven companies are more productive – 5% more! Companies that make use of their data are also 6% more profitable. Simply put, making sense of your data can help turn your business around.

And let’s not forget that organizing data in a meaningful way can also get the people in your company to align with your company's mission. It's been shown that engaged employees perform better. According to a study by the Dale Carnegie Institute, companies with engaged, satisfied employees outperform their competitors by as much as 202%.  If the people on your team were that engaged, think about what that could do for your business!

So, how do we get all this data to actually mean something?

Connect the dots

I caught up with an old friend recently, and we talked about our experience managing teams and the tools we use. This friend manages the software and database for an organ transplant system, orchestrating the list of organ donors with its respective recipients.

In every single decision-driving conversation, he says their team asks one question: “How is this going to help us save more lives?”

This is such a great example of reinforcing why we’re here, why we do what we do. He shared that this one question makes everyone stop and reconsider their request as part of the bigger picture and it reminds them of their purpose.

While we aren’t all building lifesaving applications, our companies exist to solve problems for somebody. Whether it’s productivity that lets people get home earlier or companies that create the architecture where people live or work, there is value and meaning to what we do.

Here’s your opportunity: what’s the one question you could ask in every meeting that will challenge people to work in context and concert with the company mission? What question will connect them to the people they serve?

Get personal

Let’s be honest, it’s easy sometimes to just get on with our jobs and forget that bigger picture. My friend shared one of the ways they remind members of the company that they serve real-life people. In addition to matching donors and recipients, his company also makes the calls that notify recipients that their wait is finally over.

These calls between the donor center and recipients are recorded and played back for employees. Imagine hearing a person catch their breath and gasp, or sob tears of joy, knowing their lives have been changed. They aren’t merely a software company. They help change lives and everyone can hear that.

Use data to speak on a personal level. Ensure that the voice of your customers, suppliers and partners is actually heard (for real) throughout the organization. Record conversations, share stories, encourage face–to-face interactions. Help everyone remember that these are real people that they're dealing with – not just numbers or names.

Put simply

The data we gather gives us all the potential to be bigger, more connected, more inspired and more successful. I hope you will embrace the challenge to go beyond bits and bytes and to leverage all your data to make a difference both inside and outside of your organization. 

At Hubble, we can help you make sense of it all. Learn how to make your data more meaningful for you and your teams.

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