The Best Management Style: Managing Productivity with Stats and Trends

On top of encouraging transparency and accountability, statistics and graphs empower employees to keep track of their own production.


Managing productivity is always a top concern in any organization — especially with the current WFH situation — as it directly influences your service and costs. For best results, monitor statistics and trends for insight into your productivity levels.

Why Statistics and Graphs are Fantastic Tools

Statistics and graphs represent the behaviors happening inside your organization. Those behaviors represent your specific goals or objectives and key results (OKRs), which relate to your vision. These tools provide a simple way to track what you want and how close you are to achieving it, based on how well every level of the organization is working.

On top of encouraging transparency and accountability, statistics and graphs empower employees to keep track of their own production. This develops trust, as everyone can view the data to verify what is or isn't getting done. Leaders can break the habit of micromanaging and know more clearly when to reward their teams.

Although they might have a reputation as cold and unfeeling quantifying tools, statistics and graphs are really about building great relationships and a strong work culture. They allow you to break the more traditional, hierarchical, siloed business structures of the past and grant autonomy to every single person on your team.

How to Take Action

In a healthy organization, everyone is there because they create and add value. Statistics apply to each employee, who should all have at least two or three bug-free OKRs per quarter (i.e., OKRs that are ambitious, clear and measurable, but reachable). A good starting point is to help your team identify the OKRs they can use to self-assess, stay on task and set new challenges.

Once you know which goals you'll track, select the specific metrics you'll use to measure your progress and get organized in your OKR management system. Studying your results and applying relevant changes is the final step in the framework. John Doerr outlines this concept in detail in his book, Measure What Matters.

As part of the final tracking and analysis process, teach your team to spot trends like expansions or contractions in the statistics. The key is using your eye to find averages of peaks and valleys. If there's a considerable increase, discover what caused it and integrate it into your operations. A flatline or downward trend is a likely sign to shift your strategy or tools. If you spot a significant decrease, that can be a red flag indicating poor production in a sub-statistic (i.e., a stat that supports a larger area of data).

Using Statistics and Graphs Is Simple, So Start Now

Statistics and graphs are huge assets because they allow you to communicate and work through your OKRs. OKRs, in turn, provide focus, alignment, tracking and expansion across the organization. In combination, you can construct an ideal environment for people to do their best work. Don't underestimate your metrics, especially in a time where data is easier than ever to gather and analyze. Take full advantage of available information, in as many areas as possible, to make sure your team is ready to thrive.

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