I know what you’re thinking. We’re a stats company so we’re supposed to say that stats are the “be all, end all”, right? Wrong. Stats are just stats. That’s why we picked the name UseMyStats. Just “tracking” or “keeping” stats won’t do much for you. You have to use them.
We conducted a survey not too long ago to ask people about business statistics. One of the major things we learned was that a number of people were disenchanted with stats because they didn’t care. Their stats were just numbers; they had nothing to do with what mattered in their businesses, jobs and/or lives. In other words, they weren’t useful tools.
Are you tracking the right stats?
At the end of the day, stats are just numbers. If you’re not tracking something that matters and that you can use, who cares? For example, count how many breaths you take in a minute. Try it. No really, try…we’ll wait.
How high did you get before you gave up?! I made it to about 3! Who cares, right? If you are Michael Phelps, on the other hand, it probably matters how long you can hold your breath for or how fast it takes you to swim a lap. Those are important stats for him and his profession. If he starts having to take more breaths, he knows there’s something to fix, but to me (and most of us), the time it takes to swim a lap doesn’t really change our lives much (if at all).
The moral of the story: stats are only relevant in certain situations and in certain contexts. What they’re used for is what makes the difference. (In case you missed them, we covered what a stat is in our article, “What is a Stat Anyway?”, and in our video, “What is a Statistic?”. To recap: a stat is simply a number with a unit of time that can be compared to another number to see changes.)
So which ones should you track?
Well, what do you produce? What’s your end goal? We’ll cover this more in an upcoming blog post, but break down what it takes to get your product. If you are a janitor, what are all the building blocks of creating clean and pleasant spaces. If you are a doctor, what are all the pieces to making and keeping people well. And don’t forget the less obvious ones, like the promotional or scheduling actions, that help build up to the final product. There are some really awesome relationships you can see when you do that, that can help make “steering the ship” as easy as following a compass.
So the important stats are the ones that help you reach your goal. Track those and then use them! Skip the rest. I’m sure you are busy enough without making busy work for yourself.