Friday, July 13, 2007

Information at work

It is true. I like collecting data. I have epic spreadsheets full of data.

But I don't really like collecting data. That is just an essential prerequisite. What I like to do, what I need to do, what any manager needs to do, is to be able to process vast reams of information - to filter it, to sort it, to categorise it, and then to work out where it is leading or where it is all coming from.

I am not very good at collecting data. But I am good at spotting or working out the trends and the policies from it.

That is management, and the more senior your role, the more information you have to process and the harder it is to pull out the key messages. And the better you are as a manager, the more information you can process, and the more likely you are to be able to work out the necessary direction.

It's sometimes called "being decisive", it's sometimes called "cutting through the crap", but the key point is that you need to have absorbed the data to do it, you cannot have ignored the data to do it.


Faisal said...

Or you can model your spreadsheet properly to give you the one precise, colour coded figure you need, with the data absorption inherent in the colour coding and accuracy of the number.

I like spreadsheets too. But we need to evolve to status dashboards that read the spreadsheets and do the analysis. And one day, when we can link other systems to act upon the results shown in the dashboard, we can cut out the slow, inefficient human in-between.

Anonymous said...

You are so right. That is exactly what we are trying to do at work.