BC 133. Eight Benefits of Being Data Informed

In this solo podcast, Brian informs you on #Pillar4 from the 12 Pillars of Peak Performance, Know Your Numbers.  You will discover the 8 Benefits of Being Data Informed and how to apply them to your everyday life.


The 8 Benefits of Being Data Informed…

  • Measurement = Motivation.
  • What you measure gets done.
  • Numbers tell the truth and they lack emotion.
  • Chart your course and track your progress.
  • And more…




You can make excuses or make it happen.  You can’t do both.  So make a decision on which one of those people you’re going to be – an excuse maker or a person who is going to make it happen.

Eight Benefits of Being Data Informed.  This is Pillar #4 Knowing Your Numbers.  I think one of the main reasons why you’re going to want to be data informed is that measurement equals motivation.

Think about it like this.  Let’s imagine that you had a younger sibling or a child and you were sitting on the couch and you realize, oh man, I left my bag in the car.  If you said to your daughter or to your son, “Hey, would you go out and get my bag out of the car” they’re probably going to go, “Nah, Dad, I’m busy doing something.”  Or if you said, “Hey, I bet you can’t run out to the car, get my bag, and bring it in here and give it to me under 45 seconds – I bet you can’t do that.  Go.” Boom.  Immediately they’re going to fly out the door, they’re going to get the bag, they’re going to bring it back to you.  Why?  Because there is a measurement.  When there is a measurement, there is motivation.

One of the 8 Benefits of Being Data Informed is that when you measure things you’re more motivated, and another one is what you measure gets done.  So many times in life we go through the motions instead of growing through the motions.  How do you grow through the motions?  You grow by tracking.  Tracking.

An app I use on my phone is called Way of Life and I simply have certain goals of what I’m trying to do on a daily basis.  For example, did I read The Daily Dominator?  Did I call Success Hotline?  Did I read The Maxwell Daily Reader?  Did I make my bed?  Did I send the Bear a nice text message in the morning?  Did I hit my macros?  Did I exercise?  Did I meditate?  What I’ll do is I’ll either check “yes” or “no” on all those things that I did, and because I‘m doing that every day, it’s like my checklist for success.  If I’m looking at that every day and I go 3-4 days without meditating, then I know I’ve got to lock in and get that done; otherwise, I’m going to start getting stressed out and lose control.  I keep track of that checklist because what you measure you’re going to get done.

The other piece I love about being data informed is that numbers tell the truth and they lack emotion.  For example, I work a lot in college baseball, and in college baseball every team is going to take batting practice almost every day.  They’re going to get 20 swings at home plate.  Usually it comes in four rounds of five swings.  As those players are taking those four rounds of five swings getting 20 swings, very few – probably can count them on the number of one hand – of programs in the country are going to be measuring if the swing in batting practice was a quality swing and was executed.  Those programs that do usually are the ones that are the best.

One of the first people I saw do that was Tim Corbin at Vanderbilt, where he measured their execution at batting practice, because he said, “Putting a measurement on it gets them to focus more; if they focus more, they’re going to improve and if they improve, we’re going to play better.” It’s simple common sense.  But people don’t do it.  They make excuses.  “Oh, we don’t have enough managers” or “We don’t have enough people” or “Our batting practice pitcher can’t throw balls while the guy is hitting and then turn around and write down on a clipboard” or “We can’t put a clipboard on the cage outside and when a guy comes out after hitting, he can’t just make a number of how many balls he squared up and executed.”  You can make excuses or make it happen.  You can’t do both.  So make a decision on which one of those people you’re going to be – an excuse maker or a person who is going to make it happen.

A simple way to make it happen as a baseball coach is measure how you do in batting practice execution.  If you can only execute at a 50% rate in BP, why would you expect yourself to have a 500% quality at-bat average in a game when the ball is moving and the guy is trying to strike you out instead of just throwing it down the middle and let you hit?

So when you have those numbers from performance base or practice, it’s going to tell the truth, it’s going to lack emotion, and it’s going to give you more clarity as to where you are.  But you’ve got to chart your course, you’ve got to track your progress, and you’ve got to know your numbers.

Now there is a difference between data driven and data informed.  A lot of times in education they talk about making data-driven decisions, and I think what data-driven decisions are is that the data is the only thing that plays into the factor of making the decision.  As you know from being a human being, sometimes there are emotions that come into play.  Sometimes there’s work ethic, there’s attitudes, there are other things besides the win and the loss or the straight number that can come into play.

I think while being data informed and having all the information in front of you to help you make a calculated decision is important…  I think often being data driven, where the only thing that makes your decision is the numbers, can be catastrophic when you’re talking about dealing with human beings.  That’s why I refer to the difference between data driven, which is the decision only based off of the information, and data informed, which is I take the information to help me make an informed decision.

I think that is really the difference between practice and training as well.  Navy SEALs in the military don’t practice.  They train.  Great athletic programs don’t practice.  They train.  Practice to me is simply showing up and going through the motions; where training is, there is a measurement.  Training – there is a standard of excellence that you’re trying to get to.  When we’re throwing this bullpen, we’re going to execute 70% quality pitches, meaning the pitch that’s thrown is the pitch that was called 70% of the time.  We threw it to the location we wanted to.  By putting the measurement on it, now the focus for training and everything increases and it’s going to make that performance better.

The best training strategy I’ve ever seen – a process-based scrimmage.  There was a scrimmage where – and you can do this in baseball, you can do this in softball, you can do this really in any sport.  You identify what is the process of your sport and in that inner squad you reward the process when you get it.  For example, let’s use a baseball analogy.  Everyone talks about throwing first pitch strikes.  Let’s say a pitcher throws a first pitch strike; on the scoreboard in the hits column it’s going to go down as +1 for that team that threw the first pitch strike.  Let’s say a guy on the next pitch hits a line drive and he’s out.  Well, that’s a quality at-bat so it’s going to be +2 for that team.  On the scoreboard it would be +1 for the defensive team for the first pitch strike +2 in the hits column for the quality at-bat.

As you go through and you identify what’s the process in your sport – for example, in basketball it would be a rebound and then in transition they get the ball down the court with five passes and a guy takes a good open jump shot, misses the shot, but it was a high percentage shot +1.  Defense gets the rebound, comes down, driving the lane and a guy is open on the wing, kicks it out, boom, kick out pass, he takes the shot, makes it, but it’s going to be +2 for the kick out pass because the guy was wide open.  Ball goes the other direction and a guy takes a charge, +3 for taking a charge but also +1 for the person who got the offensive foul called on them for attacking the rim.  So it all depends on what it is you want within your process, because what you measure you’re going to get more of.

We treasure what we measure, and the things that we measure take the forefront of our awareness so we’re more likely to get those.  What are the key things in your life?  What are the key things in your daily routine or in your sport that you’re going to want to start to measure?  I want you to think about that right now before this podcast comes to a close.  What’s one thing that you can start to measure in your life personally and professionally that will help you close the gap from where you are to where you want to be?  Is it how many times you exercise?  Is it how many nights you get to have dinner with your family?  Is it how much time you put into e-mail or the internet?  How many times you catch yourself searching or surfing the web instead of being productive?

What about, is it competitions in your sport where you’re increasing competitiveness by setting up drills where there is a winner and a learner in each drill so that you guys have more competitiveness in your practice?  What are you going to do personally?  What are you going to do professionally to measure so that you can increase the competitiveness of your training sessions and you can increase the effectiveness of your life?  Make sure you know your numbers, be more data informed, because measurement is motivation.

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