I’m going to share with you right now how to use data as a convener in your business. I know it sounds crazy but were going to figure it out.

Here at Mackey, we say data is a convener. I know it’s a weird word but it’s about building community. Most companies, most organizations in general, most almost anybody like to use data as a weapon and we weaponized data. We tell people how they’re bad or wrong or what should they have done or what they could have done with data. And frankly, I think you can probably tell that I’m getting red. It really makes me angry that we use data as a weapon because the truth is data is truth. Data is the thing that can take all of the shame and the blame away because data just is. Data has no judgement to it unless we put it on there and that’s why data is so important, especially for business owners.

Most people would rather share their intimate personal details than details on their finances and their money, especially business owners because it’s not just I have a paycheck, this is what I’ve done with it. It’s why I’ve created all of this. I am in charge in all of this. And what we do with that, what you do with that, what business owners do with that is then we maybe make up all of the stuff of who we are and typically it’s not a great stuff.

We don’t typically look at our data and say to “I’m awesome”. We typically look at our data and say “Wow, I really fudged that out this month” or “Wow, this year I really let X down”. So, data as a convener, so let’s flip our script in our head and let’s just look out at data as what it is and that is, that it just is, right? If you have an accurate data you can see where you are and that is what a convener does. It shows you where you are so you can move forward where you want to go. So, using data as a convener means you get clear that your data is accurate. then you get clear on what that data means to you and not in a way that you beat yourself up. That’s not what we’re doing. We’re framing it in this happened and I think it’s because of this. We’re not saying this happened because I sucked.

Next, when you get clear on what it means you start sharing with your team. You share it little by little. This is what we did last year top line, this is your salaries as a whole, this is what we spent on product materials. You start sharing it, no judgement. Share it and ask what they think. Teach them while you’re teaching yourself. How to use data to bring them together. Print out a whole of trying your accounts. Pronounce a whole list of expenses that you have last year. What’s in there? What can people find? Can they find something that? Wow, you’re spending, we’re spending that much? I know a much better vendor than that or Hey, I think actually we could leverage this piece of our business a lot more.

So, when you open up you data from, again, let’s talk about a lot of heart work. When we open up our heart to our data and we stop using it to beat ourselves up then we opened up to our team, it will transform our business because we’re now speaking the same language and that’s critical because you’re not just speaking but you have you business language, right? You have the products what they’re called, you have the services what they’re called, you have your acronyms, I mean our acronym list here at Mackey is probably three pages long for new hires, right? You have your own business language but accounting and finance is it’s own language too and it’s a much more powerful language. So, use your data as a convener. Get everybody flew on it and that becomes your launchpad. Good data and sharing data is a non-negotiable. It must happen.

So, a long time ago that we had a woman business owner come in and brilliant at what she did building her team and she was charging enough. Well, she’s charging market rate, I don’t think ever charges enough for their time talent energy but that’s another video. Uh, but she came in, she was charging market rate, she had a unique process. She was just killing it on the outside but her bottom line she was in debt. She was losing money. She was like a follower in her industry changing game and she was losing money. And she couldn’t figure out why. Well, that’s what we do, right? That’s what we love. So, we look through the data, no judgement, remember? We’re like planet fitness, no judgement zone.

We looked into her data and realized she’s paying our people like almost double market rate and we asked, we say “Hey, what’s going on there?” and she said “Well, I hate how my industry treats our subcontractors. We ripped them off. They’re very talented. They deserved to be paid well and that was, that could have been, that was the truth, right? She’s in her industry, that was true for her. But the other truth is that she has to put her oxygen mask on first. And she doesn’t take care for herself in her business, she can’t take care of her contractors in the long term. So, we used the data. So, we just not heard it, not just her data but the market data and we helped her bring her heart into the conversation and talk about what felt good inequitable between what she needed to make to cover her expenses and to generate a living for herself and what felt equitable to pay her contractors still above the market rate, still happy.

Then we helped them, we helped coach her through that conversation with role-playing, questions, what-if scenarios. And that’s the power of data, so instead of her going this downward spiral where she’s killing herself to keep generating income that she’s been losing money on because she set herself up to fail with her contractors. We helped her change that into up spiral through data.

When we use data to build community, it creates curiosity not judgement. So, most employees shy away from scorecards, KPIs, dashboards because they feel they gonna get beat up with it. But if we use those tools and we use our common language for data and we use it with curiosity, when we use it to point at “Hey, that doesn’t maybe look great, that doesn’t maybe look like how we modeled it” and we ask the right questions, we start building communal solutions to our problems. And we can use data in the forms of scoreboards and KFIs and all of those big words and all of those scary words. We can use data to help everybody know that they are going where they should be going and really as it relates their job and they’re being success as it relates their job.

Data plus curiosity equals solutions and better solutions than I promise that you can come up with alone or you and your accountant can come up with alone or you and just your leadership team can come up with alone. Data plus curiosity equals community.