Data Analysis

The Deal with Data: 5 Steps to Getting a Way More Efficient Team

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As a startup leader, when someone asks you if you're busy, you're apt to laugh in their face.

You have to laugh, or you might start crying.

With the number of things you have to juggle you have to wonder: Do people want you to have a nervous breakdown?

While the daily errands, repetitive conversations and dead-end email threads that come along with managing a team are making you feel ridiculously busy, a lot of these tasks could be made more efficient or cut out completely.

A study confirmed that a staggering 90 percent of managers waste time doing unproductive activities. And you’re not the only one wasting precious time. A recent survey of 500,000 employees from organizations across the globe revealed that 60 percent of respondents’ time at work is being spent on counterproductive tasks.

That’s a huge blow to efficiency.

But installing data practices can help. It doesn’t have to drain your time or pull you away from your passion points. In fact, it can actually create hours where you've never had them before, revealing patterns and outliers and illuminating problems and opportunities within your workforce. You can start saving yourself those extra hours and turn them into achievements, innovations or even just time to think.

All you have to do is boil down all your intuitive, ad hoc tasks to more formulaic decision-making models. Start with these steps. 

Related: Why Your Startup Needs to Be Data Mature From the Beginning

1. Set the numbers, but don’t freak out your employees

Establish the goals that your employees should be striving for and the numbers you’d like for them to hit.

Then, give employees a short pep talk to go over their individual targets and answer any questions. Explain that you’re not trying to be Big Brother -- rather, these metrics will drive how their performance is evaluated and what tasks they’re assigned.

2. Choose a tool as a team, and install it

Use a tool that gives your teammates a quick visual translation of what they’re doing and how they’re working.

This will act as a kind of biofeedback for your teammates, enabling them to learn quickly and adapt when their productivity is low. Using data no longer has to mean trawling through spreadsheets. Tools such as Qlik Sense allow you to organize your dashboards and turn your data into digestible, intuitive visuals.

3. Monitor many variables at once

Tools can make your employee-monitoring smarter, allowing you to view many variables at once to get a more holistic view of how your team is performing. Platforms such as Domo give you a range of metrics so you can evaluate employee performance, keep an eye on deals and monitor your sales funnel activity.

Related: 3 Things That Successful Entrepreneurs Know About Data

4. Test, evaluate and repeat

No data-driven infrastructure should be put in place and left to sit.

After you’ve had this new system in place for a quarter, analyze its progress. Then, see whether it has saved you time. Are your employees improving in their roles? Do you feel better equipped and less rushed? Are any other problems emerging? Make this a regular review, and plot it into dashboards and diaries so everybody can easily see it’s coming up.

5. Promote healthy balance

Entrepreneurs are notoriously bad at balancing their lives. Many startup leaders will deprive themselves of sleep, skip showers and avoid social gatherings in an endless effort to stay productive.

But those sacrifices are all for naught if they fill their time with unnecessary tasks. By using data to better manage your team’s time, you can promote a better lifestyle and keep your team healthy and energized.

Having a team that’s highly connected to its performance level will not only save you time, but it will also save you a lot of money in the long run. It’s all about installing the right automated performance measurement tool, stepping back and trusting it to do a lot of your work for you. It’s as simple as that.

Related: 10 Data Tools Every Marketer Needs to Be Using