The only way to change perceptions is to overwhelm them with data. Data can solve all problems.
We live in a world of perceptions. We live in a world where we perceive things to be true, perceive things to be too challenging, and perceive things without data.
Perhaps, this is where the saying “perception is reality” had to be forced into our realities – to support all of the false perceptions (which, some may call fake news).
“My business is failing,” perceives the business owner.
“But you drive a fancy car, live in an expensive house and wear nice shoes,” provides the data expert, as he perceives it.
“True, but my bottom line is crap,” explains the perceptive business owner.
“But, if you are running all of those fancy lifestyle pieces through your business, then, your true bottom line is much greater than you may perceive,” says the data examiner.
I certainly understand perception being a reality, but what if we stopped looking at beliefs in business (we will leave politics and religion out of this)? Would we have a world of happier franchisees, happier franchisors, happier entrepreneurs, happier employees?
I love data. I love every ounce of it. I love that it can give true facts to fight false perceptions. I also love how it can fix mine.
How much data and how much perception do you use in your life? Is your perception that you only ate two pieces of pizza and drank two beers, yet the true data says you ate three and drank four? But, because perception rules, you are good with the first?
At our agency, we measure everything and set strong key performance indicators so that we can truly measure efficiencies, output and even client satisfaction. On the media relations side of our business, our KPIs are focused on effort – knowing that we cannot generate great results without great effort. Recently, I put our perceptions to the test. The perception was that we had too high of expectations for our team as it related to the number of outbound efforts we needed to deploy as an agency. I disagreed, knowing that more awesome results for our clients will equal more awesome clients – but I was willing to put my theories (hadn’t had data placed against them in a long time) to the test.
We gathered as an organization for a four-hour pitch party – full of fun, education, competition and most importantly, data.
Four hours is what we ask out of the level of teammate that has to pitch the most aggressively. That hourly measurement decreases to one hour for the more senior staff (knowing their experience should increase the effectiveness of results to pitch).
A four-hour straight session would be abnormal, as we typically ask for two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon (to ensure we are getting in front of different staffs at the publications we are pitching). This was going to be a boot camp, meant to be strenuous to stimulate the worst-case scenario of exhaustion at the end of the session.
Throughout the four hours, not only did we generate more results by collectively tweaking our outbound pitches to be stronger, but the data more than supported the KPIs we were asking for. We put the KPIs to the test and found that there is still plenty of time to craft the pitch, test the pitch, deliver the pitch and hit our numbers. In fact, the output on that one day, working as a collective, and simply doing the job that is asked (yet in a very focused and coached way) created the KPI output of three days in just one.
This proved that not only is this possible, but anything is possible with proper data.
Now, the perceptions could no longer be a reality. They were removed and data took charge.
The sustainability of that moment may be tested, but, we as an agency were able to put better data against one of our highest sought after deliverables – media relations.
So, in your business or your life, do you rely on perceptions or realities? Data can sometimes silence the trouble and promote the possible.