At Blue Raven Solar, we have three values:
1. Develop a High-Trust Culture
2. Be Efficient
3. Continuously Improve.
Each value is accompanied by four statements that try to capture what living this value means for us.
Our third value, “Continuously improve,” means four things for us:
3a: Gather data to make decisions
3b: Follow the Blue Raven six-step problem solving approach
3c: Try new things and fail quickly
3d: Be go-getters
Value 3a is our topic today: Gather data to make decisions.
On a regular basis, somebody at Blue Raven Solar will recommend changing a process without first understanding the “current state.” I occasionally fall into the same trap. We are quick to jump to solutions without first fully understanding problems and their root causes. Gathering data must always be the first step in any improvement initiative.
When COVID-19 is written about in the coming years, the lack of reliable data and its impact on decision-making will certainly feature prominently in the After-Action Report. Sadly, leaders in the United States and elsewhere have had to make important decisions without a reliable numerator (how many people have died) and denominator (how many people have been infected). While conservatism is prudent to prevent avoidable death, COVID-19 certainly serves as an instructive case study on how gathering accurate data is essential to good decision making.
At Blue Raven Solar, gathering data has helped us make employees’ and customers’ lives better, improve workplace processes, make informed and strategic decisions, find solutions to problems, and reach our goals as individuals, teams, and as a business. Every four weeks, we send a survey to our employees to get feedback on team morale, company culture, leadership performance, productivity, and more. Recently, thanks to employee feedback, we doubled our paid maternity leave from 6 weeks to 12 weeks, and paid paternity leave from 1 week to 2 weeks. We’re grateful to our employees for providing this feedback. There have been many decisions that have been made at Blue Raven because we first took the time to gather data.
We asked employees how they experience value 3a at Blue Raven Solar. Here is what some of them said:
Numbers don’t lie. When we collect data to push a change it has concrete evidence that it can be beneficial.
Behind every decision made at Blue Raven, there is data to support it. It is important to know why something was or wasn’t successful and what we can change in the future or do better. Data informed decisions lead to less mistakes and failure.
The work processes here at the Raven are very detail-oriented so it’s vital that we know what we are doing before we make a decision. I’ve seen it exemplified here with leaders as they make decisions.
This is a huge thing for me, and I believe every decision needs to have data to back up why or what we are doing. I do this on a daily basis and make sure the decisions I make are data driven.
The Barometer shows our growth through data collection and helps everyone have an understanding of what/why we are making needed changes.
We are able to communicate with others to see if our data is right before taking that to the customer.
Every morning before our huddle we go over the previous days and weeks efforts in order to set our goal and course for the current day.
More recently, as people come to ask me questions or give me a case, they always come prepared with the necessary information before we proceed or come to a conclusion.
When customers call in about low production, we take into consideration their estimated amount and how much they have produced in comparison. This process helps us decide if it is a low production inquiry or a work order.
A conclusion could never be reached here without gathering data. It is the lifeblood of decisions here at the Raven.
Well, basically the proposals team can’t really make any decisions without sufficient data. People on the Sales team sometimes have to work above and beyond to give the proposals team the data we require to do our job. It’s quite amazing.
Site Surveys are critical to gathering data about specific jobs to determine installation methods and qualify them structurally and electrically.
Well from the customer ops side of things, every adjustment that we make to the system we run is purely based on the data of what’s going on with the customers. We push ourselves to make everything (within reason) a numeric measurement so that we can constantly improve ourselves and that process.
I think that in the manager calls of which I am apart, the presentations and statistics used are effective in helping us better our processes. I also enjoy when we use sales psychology data in order to inform our methods.
I feel like our leaders in the sales dev department are always doing that. Gathering data and then determining which path to take.
In the Design department, we always try to have as much information as possible to move forward with designs and permit packs. We look through the entire site survey when making final designs and again at permit packs to make sure we have everything we need to make quality designs and decisions.