In any field it is easy to look at day over day comparisons, week over week, month over month, and even year over year. If you are diligent you might even go so far as to trend your data over time. Perhaps you will include a trend for the current time period as well as a trend for the historical time period. The graph will be very pretty I’m sure. That is all great stuff.
The problem with all of this is that it is far too easy to get caught looking at the micro picture without ever taking the time to step back to look at the macro picture. Where were you at the pinnacle of your stats? Where were you at the depths? And not just in the time period you are comparing. I am talking about ever.
These are the things that you need to be aware of. Not with every project you do, but just in general. This gives you perspective. Have your sales been increasing each year? Great, maybe they have even been increasing for the last 4 years. Even better. But what if you are still at half of your sales from your peak 15 years ago? The company was capable of doing it then. Ask yourself “why are we not at that now?” and then try and figure out how to get there.
Don’t be satisfied with being close to the industry average. While it is great to know where and how you tack up against others, it should only be a component of your overall picture. Who cares if you are far above average on conversion? Someone has to shoot for the stars. Somebody has to be the new benchmark. It can be you.
The point is that as an analyst, and we are all analysts to greater and lesser extents – in your job or not, you need to be aware of the overall picture. Don’t just be a reporting monkey. Know your stuff. Know what potential there is.
And if you are setting a new benchmark, then pat yourself on the back. You deserve it. But then ask, how can I (or we) push that even further.
How have you pushed a benchmark in your life?
This has been a Thought From The Cake Scraps.