Just Give Me One Stat

I think it is universally agreed that meetings are considered the biggest productivity killer in any organisation.

People attend meetings in case they feel they will miss out on something (FOMO).

Leaders create meetings to seek commitment about something from those involved.

People attend meetings and leaders create meetings to give the impression that something is getting done.

Meetings are scheduled because people have forgotten what was agreed previously.

When we have a weekly update meeting, all I ask is for each team member to bring along one statistic.

One lonely stat can reveal so much. It shows what is important to the Team Member; over time it can reflect change; it is a diagnostic.

And it’s always a conversation starter. It prompts questions and generates discussion. As definitive as a stat may seem, it’s remarkable how much confusion it can generate. The lonely stat can create so many questions.

Let’s consider, for example, the case completion rate. In other words, the number of incidents or tickets resolved in a week. The normal Helpdesk scenario.

Say the number is 50. If the number increases over time, does that mean the agent is improving their work output? Or does that mean there is an increase in issues that needs diagnosis? What is the handling time for each case resolution? Did one case take four days and then 49 cases take a day?

And it’s equally amazing how much is concealed. A stat of 50 completed tickets does not indicate how many there were in total, nor the complexity of the work done. Or the accuracy of execution.

I know this extra questioning just means the Team Leader is only satisfied with more statistics even though they asked for just the one stat. Which brings us to an organisational truism: no matter how much data is provided, there will always be a request to provide more.