How can data help build a strong and growing business?

Fundamentally, any business must have three important things in place in order to be successful. They are:

  1. A business plan
  2. A financial plan
  3. A “people” plan

Of these three fundamentals, the one that is widely overlooked or underutilized is the people plan.

Most businesses build their companies by hiring competencies, often overlooking the Human (“H”) Factor data. The reality is that we must view the full human picture, not just a person’s skill sets. Hiring and developing the right people, who have the appropriate skill sets, are compatible with the corporate culture and will perform their function without stress is not nearly as hard as it may seem.

The heart of the matter is that merely hiring the right people is not enough. They must be kept on the right path, and their abilities maximized for the company to benefit. The following diagram will be used to help us remember the importance of not only hiring the right person but the value in the secondary steps, which must be individualized to help managers and employees attain their potential. Only then will they position themselves to impact corporate productivity, performance and profitability.


America’s most successful companies have found that an investment in data research and analysis yields significant returns. This is a huge advantage afforded large companies over medium and small organizations. Data directs them toward bottom-line results that cannot be obtained any other way to identify, develop and retain clients. Once acquired, the data creates efficiencies and opportunities for growth and development of their business.

The challenge for most organizations is acquiring the right data and applying the gained information in the proper context. What most organizations worldwide have failed to do at this point is to use the same types of research and analysis -- already used on their business and financial plans -- and apply them to the human factor.

We must realize that our job is not just to accumulate data about employees’ abilities, but rather to make sure we are gathering the right data and applying it correctly. In fact, many organizations do not know what they need to know.

Why? Because there is more data out there than they need. There are tens of thousands of validated assessments available for use. You must be astute enough to know which data mining tool will give you the information appropriate for your corporate culture, not just information for a seminar or the personnel file to justify the hire.


Without data, you cannot hire, manage and retain qualified professionals

Several years ago, I conducted and managed a survey that collected data from more than 1,600 organizations worldwide (80% were U.S. based). Not surprisingly, six of the respondent organization’s eight greatest concerns were human (“H”) factor issues, and how those issues impacted their company’s ability to succeed and profit. There is one consistent factor within each of the six issues that led to dysfunction, inefficiencies, lack of performance and departmental synergy. It is how people viewed themselves and those with whom they worked.

With that single issue in mind, consider the following statistics. As we progress through this journey on these pages, you will see the correlation and how these statistics are a natural outgrowth of this core issue.

  • 45% of employees dislike their work and feel it is unrewarding (USA Today – January 2010)
  • 32% of employees are actively looking and 74% would consider a change in positions if offered the opportunity (Forbes – March 2013)
  • “53% of Recent College Grads Are Jobless or Underemployed” based on education or direction (The Atlantic – April 2012)

When leaders from virtually every industry indicate the same problem, we must reconsider the way we are approaching the “people” business of people management. Because most systems are broken.

And, with a broken system, company stability is negatively affected, because people aren't aware of how to best fix it (hint: understanding the data).  Even though relevant data is made available, most managers do not know how to mine it, apply it, and make it work to a company’s advantage.

The following chart is from the 2012 Executive Guide to Marketing Personnel, and supports how lack of people management understanding is leading to turnover and knowledge management issues in organizations of all sizes, especially large organizations that often have the data at the ready, but aren't using it properly:



As mentioned above, the system is clearly broken. However, many companies don't realize they have a fix at their fingertips -- a systematic, data-driven approach to hiring, training, developing and retaining quality talent across all divisions of a company.

New year, new start.

16059643_s Let us first welcome you all to a brand new year. It's human nature to look to the future when January rolls around. We want to do better. We want to be betterBe it in your career and professional development, or in your personal growth, it seems there's always "no time like the present."

(That is, until you abandon many of your well-intentioned resolutions by mid-January.)

Let's break the pattern for 2015, and work together to make these goals a reality for the new year. As you'll see in the coming months, LifeThrive will place an increased focus on giving you the skills, tactics and motivation to improve your performance, in and out of the office.

The LifeThrive team has always been here to help you maximize your potential. But, for 2015 and beyond, we're dedicated to giving you more content, more insights and more expert perspectives so you can turn your goals into accomplishments, and your accomplishments into long-term success.

Today begins a new journey for all of us. It won't always be easy. And it won't always bring immediate results. But, much like our own growth and transition, when the dust clears, a better, more productive future awaits.

Gain Control of Your Goals

To start, we need to get you where you want to be. To get off to a good start, try these quick steps:

  1. Remember that success and prosperity reside within your mind. Your version of prosperity is going to look like something very different than those that “direct you on the path you ought to be on.” If you haven’t taken our free on line behavioral and values assessment do so, so you will understand your strengths and how to use them. -
  2. Make a list of your goals. Both long term and short term. Don’t let anyone tell you what they should be. Follow the “desires of your heart.” That is your inner compass telling you what you need to value and prioritize. Those priorities will be the foundation, motivating your success. Without them, you will not have the passion, drive and energy to achieve your objective. -
  3. Plan, but start by mapping out what is holding you back or standing in your way. Look at your behavioral and value areas that show the lowest scores. Identify which of your strengths can help you compensate for them. Once understood, set long-term SMART goals. Then break them down into steps that make sense and are not overwhelming. Just as Rome was not built in a day, nor will you achieve long-term objectives in a day. Make sure your daily objectives are attainable, even though they may stretch you. -
  4. Make a commitment for your future and your success. The road to accomplishments is rarely straight. You are going to encounter some curves and road blocks along the way. In the same way you expect that the highways will have some construction going on during a long journey, so will you need some reformatting and expansion of your path way. Consider those as the essential elements you were missing on the road to success. Without learning them along the way you will not have the knowledge to manage your success. And, remember my favorite phase: “Failure becomes success, when you learn from it.”

Hear from a few of your peers: We want to hear about your plans for the coming year(s)! What goals have you set for yourself (or your business) for 2015? What steps are you taking to achieve them? Let us know in the comments below!