I was recently listening to The Soul of Enterprise podcast during one of my morning runs and one of the hosts (a consultant) said: "Problem solving requires valid data." That statement is so true in many ways and resonated with me enough that I stopped my run and sent myself a note to revisit it. This statement can be applied in both personal and business life. What sort of valid data do you need to solve business problems? What about personal challenges? I'll walk through some experiences that I have had on both accounts.
On the business end, when we meet with a potential customer we often hear a comment along these lines: “Something is wrong with my business, but I don't know what.” A person may be working way too long and hard for a business that is having continual cash flow problems or their business may seem to be stuck in the same place. Once we start asking questions of the business owner in situations like these, we often find that they don't have the necessary valid data in the form of accurate and up-to-date financial and accounting data. Without accurate data the problem cannot generally be correctly solved for the long-term.
On the personal side, in July I had oral surgery to remove some damaged nerves from my mouth. It was not a fun experience even though it was a minor event. After the surgery, I still have a small ongoing issue with my mouth – in short, some foods don't taste like they should or used to. As my oral surgeon said, it's tough to troubleshoot a problem like that without appropriate data. He has had me create a daily log to list my symptoms for a given day and other various factors to notate. His hope is that he can use this data to help pinpoint if there is a continuing problem so that I can get back to enjoying the foods that I enjoy. I am a semi-foodie, so it's pretty important to my quality of life. The jury is still out on the results of this effort, but it's obvious that the doctor cannot solve the problem without valid data.
As a result of this podcast, I have given more thought to what valid data means to me, my business and the businesses of our customers. Here are some things that I am going to continue to analyze and ponder in the months ahead:
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