I recently read an awesome article by Dr. Christian Jarrett called “The Ostrich Problem” and The Danger of Not Tracking Your Progress. In it, he examined the phenomenon psychologists call “The Ostrich Problem”, which refers to “the widespread tendency for people to avoid information about progress towards their goals.” This pattern shows up in almost every area of life, whether it is goals you have for achieving financial security or losing weight or even wasting less time in front of the TV. But one of the areas where I think it is most applicable is business management.
The Ostrich Problem in Business Management
As a business consulting firm specializing in IT, we see countless businesses suffering from “The Ostrich Problem”. They sincerely desire to achieve whatever their goal is – rein in costs, increase productivity, become more efficient, but they end up effectively sticking their head in the sand and blindly kicking towards their goal (or the direction they think their goal is).
But, as Dr. Jarrett pointed out in his article, “tracking your progress in a structured way is paramount to success.” And that is equally true for business goals as it is for trying to learn a new language or eat healthier. The tendency to avoid objective measurements of your progress if definitely understandable. No one likes to be told they are not meeting their goals or falling behind schedule. So instead, many people and many businesses just stick to the “try hard” test. As long as I’m working hard to get to my goals, I must be making progress, right?
"It feels good to keep moving, and who wants the frustration of discovering that they’ve actually been driving in the wrong direction?"
But the reality is, in refusing to measure your progress, even when it's below expectations, you are crippling yourself. Research has shown again and again how progress monitoring is beneficial to performance. The simple act of tracking how you are doing relative to your goals actually helps you achieve them.
That is why we believe Business Intelligence dashboards are so critical to business success. They allow every member of a company to objectively monitor their performance on a daily basis, empowering them to reach their personal goals, which in turn allows the company to achieve its overall goals. And with recent advancements in the power and accessibility of BI tools for small and medium size businesses, BI dashboards truly are within the reach of every company.
If you are tired of constantly falling short of your business goals, exerting effort but not seeing the results, the solution may be simpler than you think. It’s time to shake the sand out of your ears and start objectively measuring your business performance.
If you have any questions about business intelligence or want to find out how Blue Margin uses Power BI to drive their business, feel free to contact Jon Thompson. He can be reached at 720-504-0017.
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