Spreadsheets no good for strategy

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This blog post from HBS starts well, but ends in the wrong place, saying we shouldn’t try to quantify intangible issues. We do know how to deal quantitatively with such factors. We can handle both tangible qualities that differ between people, such as differing customer sales rates, and also intangible states-of-mind. A bank tracks ‘miserable moments’ their customers experience and knows well how recent history of those problems affects the likelihood of customers leaving. Call center companies know how workload pressures affect staff morale, productivity and turnover, and so on. Applying ‘artistry’ to the issue, as argued in this article, is not the answer. It is right, though, that you can’t do this with spreadsheet analysis – it can’t handle the interdependencies. The basics are explained in summaries from my book on attributes and state-of-mind intangibles. I can also recommend How to Measure Anything by Douglas Hubbard.

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