When Knowing Just Enough Is Good Enough

by Gabe Welp

The path one takes in life usually stems from a handful of key decisions. These decisions create an opportunity; one can decide to take a difficult but rewarding path, or choose a simpler but less worthwhile path.

 

Our lives are defined by our opportunities; even the ones we miss.

—F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

I knew I needed to join an environment that would challenge me. One that would allow me to form relationships with my colleagues. One that would force me out of my comfort zone.

I could have taken the easy path. I could have chosen a work environment where I would be reasonably assured of success with little effort, or where I knew I would excel more than my colleagues, or where I could blend in and not be expected to contribute meaningful work.

Instead, I chose the more difficult path. I chose to join a team that would force me to grow, to learn, to contribute, to collaborate, to leave my comfort zone, to become a better version of myself despite potential failures along the way. I wanted the more difficult and more rewarding path. That’s why I chose AMEND.

 

Discovering What Mattered To Me

Throughout multiple internships at a massive Fortune 500 Company, I couldn’t help but feel that my work was trivial to the bottom line of the company.

Furthermore, surrounded by thousands and thousands of corporate employees, it was off-putting to realize I could only name roughly twenty of them, and only interacted with roughly five on a consistent basis. Despite “excelling” in this setting, I found it difficult to remain passionate without a sense that my work was creating value for the corporation. I found myself wishing for deeper connections with my colleagues.

I had experience feeling valued and connected. The most rewarding team environment I have been fortunate enough to experience happened during my time as a member and captain of my college soccer team. I learned to appreciate the deep bonds and sense of pride associated with working with a smaller group of dedicated, passionate individuals striving to obtain the same goal. I wanted more of that.

Knowing this was important to me – knowing just enough of what I wanted – made choosing the harder path over the easier one a simple choice.

 

Yes. You Can Have It All.
(At least for a short time. If you’re lucky, longer.)

I was lucky. I found AMEND.

Through discussion with current members of the AMEND team, I repeatedly came away with two conclusions:

1) there is a familial atmosphere at AMEND from the top of the company all the way down to newly hired analysts and

2) every member of the AMEND team is expected to contribute in a meaningful way to achieve the best results for our clients.

One thing was crystal clear – AMEND was offering everything I desired in a work environment. How could I resist? (Obviously, I couldn’t.)

After working at a company where the executives were unapproachable, how could I resist becoming a member of a team where I can walk over and bounce ideas off a partner of the company with years of experience? How could I resist becoming a member of a team filled with driven, enthusiastic people all working in the pursuit of a shared goal? How could I resist becoming a member of a team that, through working on diverse projects, will expand my abilities and force me to step outside my comfort zone? How could I resist becoming a member of a team that expects me to contribute in a meaningful way right away? How could I resist becoming a member of a team that is dedicated to aiding the communities of the city dearest to my heart: Cincinnati?

 

When You Know What’s Important, Making Tough Decisions Becomes Easy.

I’m not going to claim to know everything that’s important. I don’t. I don’t have all my wants and needs defined.

I knew ‘just enough’ to make this critical decision. And that’s what matters.

I feel nothing but joy as I reflect on my decision to join the talented and diverse team here at AMEND. I hope to find myself in this situation often – where I know just enough to make the best possible choice. I want that for you too. I hope you’ll always know ‘just enough’ to make all your most challenging decisions a bit easier.

The Power of Confidence

by Leigha Kraemer

 

Are you confident in yourself?

Have you ever been thrown into a situation doubting yourself?

Have you ever had a group of people supporting you and trusting you to succeed in whatever roles
you are given?

My answers to these questions have changed drastically since joining AMEND.

 

Pre-AMEND.

Before joining AMEND, I worked at a large corporation completing monotonous tasks late through the night. Often when I completed my tasks early, my biggest thrill of the day was ordering my team lunch and dinner. One day while scrolling the Panera Rapid Pick-Up page, I realized that I needed a change. I wanted a meaningful engagement that challenged me and allowed me to grow not only professionally, but personally. That is how I found AMEND.

With AMEND.

AMEND was more than just a job for me.

When I first began completing tasks at my client, I would make statements like “I don’t know if this is right, but…” and “This is probably a stupid question, but…” when talking to my project leader. One day, he gave me the feedback that I needed. He told me that I was negating my points before even stating them because I started off so doubtful of myself. He mentioned that my ideas were beneficial and I shouldn’t be afraid to share my thoughts. I realized after this experience that I wasn’t as confident in myself as I thought. I didn’t trust my ideas or think they were worthwhile.

Every team member at AMEND worked to prove to me that I had good insights and that my opinions were worth sharing. They implored me to search for confidence within myself, which had an immensely positive impact on my life.

Pushing Through Doubt

I had been both silently and verbally doubting myself. I doubted myself when I made the aforementioned comments and when I would subconsciously tell myself that I was inadequate and not suited to complete a difficult task. With the help of my team at AMEND, I was pushed to believe that I could do anything I put my mind to. They made me feel valuable and needed.

To Growth

I grew insurmountably during this period of time and wouldn’t be the person I am now without AMEND. They made me see myself through a new lens and gain twice the confidence I previously had.

Everyone at AMEND had my back. They supported me. They trusted me, endlessly. They empowered me to radiate confidence at all times and vanquish any doubt that I had. I was ready to take on new projects with a newfound energy. I was more effective with clients and made an impact on several people and places that I will never forget. AMEND first changed my life which allowed me to change others’ lives.

To Confidence

AMEND will always be more than just a job for me.

Thanks to what I’ve learned here so far – and how I’ve grown – I will continue to practice confidence in everything I do.

I know I have a group of people supporting me endlessly, so I should not have any self-doubt. I am an overall better person than I was last fall. I am a more confident person, a better professional, and a better listener and confidant. I am able to think more critically and positively change people’s lives.

Passion + Purpose = Performance

There are a few things that separate the best leaders from the rest. Passion is one trait the best leaders share. Their passion may come from a cause that’s near and dear to them personally. It may come from serving others. No matter the source, passion is a difference maker.

Why? Because passion is unstoppable.

This is why we work with passionate leaders.

This is why we partner with passionate world-changers.

This is why we hire passionate leaders who find a way or make one when it comes to helping our clients achieve the ‘impossible.’

This is why we build more than businesses.

We build into people who bring communities closer. We build into groups that make leaders stronger. We build into organizations that make possible possible-er.

 

Passion AND Purpose – A Winning Combination
The Boy Scouts of America Dan Beard Council’s Professional Leadership Network is just one of the more than 50 organizations we support annually. Their recent dodgeball tournament gave us a chance to showcase our passion for sports (and our insane d-ball skills).

The AMEND team bringing their passion for sport to the PLN Dan Beard 2017 Dodgeball Challenge.

The AMEND team at the PLN Dan Beard 2017 Dodgeball Challenge.

And while we might not have been the best at dodging, we were the best at playing with big hearts and leaving it all on the court!

One reason we gave it our all is because we’re highly competitive. Another reason we brought a little more to this game is because it’s held in honor of a person who captured our minds and won over our hearts – Joe Rippe, Sr., founder of RKCA, people-investor, community builder.

Joe was a great businessman and an even better humanitarian. His passion for helping others – uncontainable.

So, it’s no surprise to us or any of his friends, that his legacy is filled with events like the PLN Dan Beard Dodgeball Challenge. It’s also no surprise that these events continue to grow and prosper because Joe built them on the best possible foundation – passion + purpose.

We were lucky enough to learn from Joe, and his son Brent. We are also fortunate enough to see this come to life for many of our clients when we work with them to create a purpose-based strategic plan that inspires passion and action.

 

Difference Makers Making A Difference
Achieving measurable results – making a meaningful and positive impact – is important to us.

Making an impact that changes the direction of a person’s life is incredible. It’s a gift we’re honored to receive from time to time.

Giving, for us, is so much more than a word nestled inside our core values. It’s in our DNA. Giving is living around here… It’s why you’ll often find us out volunteering with the United Way or Habitat for Humanity on the weekend, or why you’ll find us running fundraisers for groups that fight cancer or build future leaders, or why we’re often on the field coaching or in the hallways mentoring.

 

Passion + Purpose = Performance
If you or your team are stuck… If progress is approaching zero… If performance levels are approaching record lows… If you feel like you’re begging, nagging, or yelling at people every day to get make things happen, you’re likely missing passion, purpose, or both.

 

Need help creating a high-performance culture? Want to attract and retain top talent easily? We can help. Contact us now.

 

 

The REAL Cost Of Decision Delay

What if every minute you waited to make a decision meant the difference between life and death for someone else.

Would you review new information and move forward with new solutions differently? Would you engage experts sooner? Would you declare “we’re moving that mountain, no excuses!”

I bet you would.

I would too.

This idea of trading a human life, or many human lives, for the luxury of extra decision making time hit me like a ton of bricks as I was reading this article over the holiday break. It got me thinking – what if the costs of delaying my decisions were much greater? More real-world and less numbers-on-paper (or not considered at all).

The leaders at Geisinger Health Systems actually had to make this type of decision. They had to decide how to best leverage the massive amount of data pouring into their health care system to save lives. (Full Article)

A Long And Worthy Journey

The decision to use data to save lives was risky, aggressive, visionary – and totally worth it.

“Despite the abundance of data in healthcare, and the clear promise of big-data analytics, the sector has been slow to put it to work. Among the obstacles to adoption are laws aimed at protecting patient information, and a shortage of technical talent; hospitals and clinics compete for big data engineers whose technical skills can be applied across industries.”

These leaders put it all out there – they invested lots of money, worked to string together solutions, stayed the course for twenty years…all with no guarantee of success.

And then they started saving lives and nothing else mattered. Their analytics system discovered life-saving connections and empowered the doctors to take action.

“For example, a trauma patient admitted through the emergency department after a car accident typically undergoes body imaging to look for internal injuries. The medical team must prioritize acute, life-threatening illness, sometimes at the expense of addressing incidental but important findings reported on imaging studies. What the medical team might leave behind, the analytics system can pick up.”

 

Analytics – Your Power-filled Ally

You can use your data to make an impact just as the leaders at Geisinger Health Systems are using their data to save lives.

Analytics can help you gain a deeper understanding of what’s really driving the daily, weekly, and monthly results you’re working to manage.

Digging into your data can reveal a whole different layer of information about your business. (One of our clients recently experienced this. Explore what they learned and the impact it had on their business.)

And unlocking what’s hidden in your data can make all the difference.

 

If Not Now, When?

Data analytics and business intelligence has been on the scene for decades. It’s all the buzz now because us mere mortals are just now figuring out how to best leverage it. This makes it new, and intimidating, and confusing…

It’s easy to put off because, hey, we’ve been fine for all these years – right?

The truth is, you might be right. You might be in an industry that’s so slow to adapt that it will take the industry as a whole another three decades to come around.

But what if you’re not? What if you’re falling behind your competitors every day you don’t take action in this space? Sure, it’s not costing a human life, or many human lives, but it might be costing you customers, top talent, or profits.

 

 

Why You Should Give A Damn About Data

There’s only one reason you should care about the impact data, analytics, and business intelligence can have on your business and it’s completely selfish…

Leveraging data will make you a more powerful leader!

And the impact is almost instant.

In as little as two weeks you can know more about your business than you may have learned in the entire time you’ve been employed.

Sounds dramatic and crazy, I know, but based on the hundreds of client interactions I’ve had this year as we’ve fully integrated business intelligence and analytical thinking – this impact is very, very real.

In fact, most of our clients are shocked by what a few basic analyses reveal about their business. Insights like:

  • Harmful Customer Prioritization or putting effort into supporting/keeping non-profitable customers while paying much less attention (or in some cases no attention) to more profitable customers (Explore more…)
  • Solving Symptoms Instead of Problems or being active versus being effective. It’s easy to get distracted solving symptoms or immediate issues instead of pushing pause and drilling down to discover the real source causing all the issues. (Explore more…)
  • Finding Hidden ‘Profit Stealers’ or understanding exactly how your company makes money and what specific activities are zapping your profits without adding any value. (Explore more…)

They are also amazed by the impact and results we’re able to achieve when we work to turn their data into insights and those insights into action.

“Someone please prove to me in the P&L that these improvements are real!” (Actual client during a results review meeting.)

  • A sales analysis revealed that the sales reps were not accurately including freight charges in their pricing – ouch – this was a shocker for leadership!
  • Analysis showed some minor scheduling changes at a Tier 1 automotive facility would produce a double-digit increase in efficiency and reduce the number of people needed to handle materials – wow – this was exciting!
  • Analysis helped senior leaders see they were working across multiple projects without an understanding of their time utilization. We built a capacity model to help accurately gauge utilization and allow for planning, increased efficiency and an increase in their project profitability – yowza – talk about a meaningful impact!

Look. There’s a lot of things business analytics and intelligence can do, and many more things it can’t.

It can’t make you a professional wrestling champion or an award-winning chef.

It can give you wings like Red Bull.

It can give you super-leadership-powers stronger than kryptonite.

Data can’t save the world but it can make you a more effective and confident leader and that’s one great reason to give a damn about data.

 


 

What’s Next??

Meet our team and explore some of the results we’ve helped local leaders achieve.

Schedule a meeting with Bobby or Geoff to explore how you can get more out of your data.

 

Profit Problems? Analytics Can Help…

Your top line is growing. Sales are up. The sales team is KILLING IT.

Things are firing on all cylinders.

You are excited about seeing your monthly P&L (maybe for the first time in a long time).

And then it happens. Reality hits hard, landing a huge punch…right in the gut…

Your top line is growing but your bottom line is getting smaller, and smaller, and smaller.

 

What’s Happening?

We recently helped a client discover a solution to this exact profit problem.

Thorough analysis helped us discover three important learnings.

  1. Gut checks can be good. Our client was convinced factors like direct and indirect labor costs, increased sales, and improved efficiency were important. Analysis revealed most of these factors had little to no connection to profits.
  2. The obvious move isn’t always the best move. Most leaders would push to decrease costs to fix the problem. Our analysis proved operations were already optimized and pushing efficiency any further would likely change nothing.
  3. Knowledge is power! Our analysis uncovered the main cause of the profit problem – overhead was growing faster than sales. Yes, the sales team was selling more (as in the number of jobs was increasing) BUT this increase was coming from the sale of smaller, less profitable jobs. Turns out these smaller jobs required a higher level of support and these additional costs were not being properly factored into the sale price. Net: they were selling more AND losing money!

 

The Best Part

Matt Murphy, one of our top analysts, described the situation perfectly.

Our client was working to solve the problem as best they could with the information they had at their fingertips. We helped them access a whole different layer of information about their business that was locked up in their data. They knew exactly what to do after that!

We are all doing the best we can WITH THE INFORMATION WE HAVE.

Our intelligence and analytics work helps you use the same information more effectively. We help you access the hidden details you can’t easily see when you’re just using your data to generate dashboards or reports.

The best part is – you (most likely have) all the information you need to start understanding your business more deeply – immediately.

 


What’s Next??

Meet our team and explore some of the results we’ve helped local leaders achieve.

Schedule a meeting with Bobby or Geoff to explore how you can get more out of your data.

 

What The Hell Is Business Intelligence & Analytics Anyway?

It’s new. It’s exciting. It’s CONFUSING. It’s Business Intelligence & Analytics – two “newer” options that are both proven to help business leaders:

  • make more confident decisions.
  • lead change more effectively.
  • best prepare for future challenges and opportunities.

Sounds fantastic – right?

So what’s the problem?

 

The Struggle Is Real

Most business leaders have no idea what business intelligence is or the dramatic impact it can have on their ability to drive bottom-line results and growth.

Many business leaders have heard about business analytics and some are even using analytics to discover root causes, find the greatest cost savings opportunities, or boost sales.

Most business leaders are collecting data (at some level) but their activity stops there. And this is the real problem. You have TONS of information and insights hidden away IN YOUR EXISTING DATA.

 

It’s Not Vudu or Witchcraft, It’s Math

We use science to better understand what has happened, what is currently happening, and what is likely to happen in the future. This is generally how things are done in many fields – history, space exploration, medical research and development, oil and gas recovery – any “sciency” field.

It only becomes new and somewhat strange when we start applying the mechanics of science to the softer, more-gut-feeling world of business. Can you really capture the art of doing business in an equation? Can my customer’s behaviour accurately be predicted by a formula?

YES! YES! YES! This type of deep understanding of what’s driving your business is exactly what business intelligence and analytics brings to the table.

 

Your Secret Weapon for Winning

Imagine Having The Fastest Thinking, Smartest-Person-In-The Room On Your Team – ALL THE TIME… That’s the power you’ll experience when you introduce analytics and intelligence into your business leadership practice.

Business Analytics is what happens when you begin to look for patterns in your data and use those patterns to improve or drive change. There are many different analytical tools and approaches depending on what you want to learn – just like there are many different tools you can use for effectively managing people, improving operations, or growing your business. The tools aren’t nearly as important as the results!

Example: An 80/20 Pareto Analysis is a fantastic problem-solving tool that helps leaders prioritize decisions by identifying the 20% of causes that are creating 80% of your problems. Need to identify and eliminate your major sources of downtime, or understand what’s driving your margins, or define your most profitable customers? Use an 80/20 to get the job done.

Business Intelligence is not only the name of an industry space, it’s also what happens when you begin to weave data into everything you do. When you’re leveraging dashboards to empower workers, running 80/20s to drive improvements and profitability, and you’re optimizing labor costs based on demand cycles – you’re getting your business intelligence on.

Example: One company leveraged analytics to optimize their existing operations and increase sales. They used predictive analytics to anticipate some big changes coming in their marketplace. Fully armed, their executives were able to take actions that moved them from number three to number one in their market. These are the kinds of dramatic changes that can happen when you’re able to fully leverage business intelligence.

 

Call it what you want – business intelligence, business analytics, or “that data stuff.” It doesn’t really matter what you call it so long as you’re using it to super-charge your thinking and results.

 


We’ve spent the last six years building one of the best mid-market Business Intelligence & Analytics teams in the country. We stand at the ready to help you turn your data into information, that information into insights, and those insights into action that grow your bottom line.

 

What’s Next??

Meet our team and explore some of the results we’ve helped local leaders achieve.

Schedule a meeting with Bobby or Geoff to explore how you can get more out of your data.

 

Words are Important: Do You Want Business Intelligence or Business Analytics?

No buzz word, tool, or technology will change your business without a thorough understanding of the how and why. The concepts behind BI and BA are incredibly powerful but must be coupled with a detailed understanding of the impact they will have on the people, processes, and metrics that drive your business.

Let’s explore what business intelligence and business analytics are and what they can do for you.

 

What’s It All Mean?

The simple answer: no one knows!

There is little doubt that the marketplace is confused over the true meaning of Business Intelligence (BI) vs Business Analytics (BA). With varying definitions from Wikipedia to Gartner to SAS to SAP, there is no one widely accepted definition.

We find repeated terminology across different sources [data mining, data driven decisions, modeling, tools, data analysis] that cloud a business user’s understanding of what these terms actually mean.

With all this confusion, how can we have a conversation about what my business is trying to achieve relative to the terminology that defines a tool? Or is it a service? Wait, maybe it is an industry…

 

 Whatever “It” Is, It’s HOT!

All I know is that whatever it is, it is hot! BI/Analytics is once again the #1 technology priority for CIO’s in the 2016 [per annual Gartner CIO surveys]. The streak of BI/Analytics as the #1 technology priority for CIOs surpasses the 90’s Bulls, the Showtime Lakers, and has reached the status of the Wooden Era UCLA Bruins.

So what is it? First, let’s look at the terminology that is the most accepted across different sources:

Business Intelligence (BI)

  • An umbrella term that includes many underlying functions regarding applications, data, infrastructure, and analysis. (This is not helping!)
  • The discovery and analysis of information to support decision making. (REALLY?!?)
  • BI uses past and current data consumption to interpret the current state of the Business. (Maybe this makes BI unique? Never mind, I am still confused)

Business Analytics (BA)

  • Business Analytics are solutions/processes to evaluate and measure performance. (How is this different from BI?)
  • BA can be used to describe several specializations that includes statistics, modeling, and data mining to analyze, interpret, or predict business scenarios (<sigh>)
  • BA collects and analyzes data to influence decisions, aka “data driven decisions,” and utilizes predictive analytics to identify opportunities before they have occurred (So BA is future and BI is current?)

 

All Right. Now What?

So where do we go from here?  Why don’t we try a different approach. Let’s define what we know Business Intelligence and Business Analytics are not:

  • Business Intelligence AND Business Analytics are not simply a chart, a table, or graph (I like this approach!)
  • Business Intelligence AND Business Analytics are not physical objects that can simply be “turned on.” Both require intelligent integration with existing business processes to drive decisions and change in the business. (I can get behind this concept!)

 

My contention with the root of this question is that if you are reading this blog post, you probably don’t actually care. You are reading this to understand the difference and see how it impacts your business. (Halleluiah!)

This is the real question: How do I take this ambiguous terminology and ensure that investing in Business Intelligence/Business Analytics positively impacts my business?

Here is the real answer: If you cannot understand the decision or process being impacted within your business AND clearly communicate how it is being impacted, then no real transformation is taking place and terminology doesn’t matter.

 

 

 


We’ve spent the last six years building one of the best mid-market Business Intelligence & Analytics teams in the country. We stand at the ready to help you turn your data into information, that information into insights, and those insights into action that grow your bottom line.

What’s Next??

Meet our team and explore some of the results we’ve helped local leaders achieve.

Schedule a meeting with Bobby or Geoff to explore how you can get more out of your data.