Couple of year’s back I was invited to a boxing match between two world-class boxers. The match was not that important that day, but a conversation that followed with one of the coach was important. It was the importance of footwork and the emphases on game as a big rumble of strategy, tactical execution and attained skill-set. The coach explained it as a set of rules that the boxers have to keep in mind to keep his thinking straight. The more you protect the rules, the more the rule protects you. It was a mesmerizing experience and stuck with me since. I have ushered the experience to few executives and had as much fun explaining it as I had experiencing it.
Today’s leaders, in the world of big data analytics, need to act much like those boxers. While leaders are taking head-on with one of the world top business challenges, leaders need to stick to certain strategic principals that will prepare them to be agile and take any challenge head-on and come out winner. I have tried capturing 10 most used lessons that I have heard and pitched through my conversation with various leaderships. Think of it as 10 commandments that I hold dear:
1. Thou shalt not do it alone: However strange it may sound but it is real. Leaders need to understand that it takes a village to install the right data analytics strategies in place. Leaders should consider it to be a team effort and not work in any isolation. Some of the best implementation of data analytics strategies has used a council model to put together a right team of leaders to identify and deploy best data analytics strategies to help business reap benefits of being data driven.
2. Thou shalt walk the walk Yes, understanding the journey from bits to insight is important. A supporter should be the biggest implementer of the strategy as well. It is important for the leadership to not just define strategies but also see them in action. Understanding how data analytics works and how an insight is generated from raw data, how teams are embracing analytics will help leadership in extrapolating some of the “not very evident” use cases that will help create a win-win strategy.
3. Thou shalt embrace analytics from the top Yes, this is not a very hard thing to explain someone but surprisingly we do hear horror stories of this stage completely being ignored. While we see many preachers on the top level management, but most of senior leadership still primarily bank of gut based decision making which is as Ludacris as it is scary. Leadership should embrace sophisticated capabilities to help them become data driven and not gut based political tainted decision makers. It is important that top leadership should be open towards strategies embracing data driven to their decision process.
4. Thou shalt not ignore the culture I often find myself joking around that its not big data that is the problem but big culture. Which is to much degree a true and consistent statement. There are very few companies, which has really nailed down the cultural adoption aspect for being data driven. Creating a culture of embracing data analytics in businesses will remove any gut based and politically motivated decisions and replaced it with data driven approaches. This is by far the most challenging stage. It requires slow changes to promote and appreciate data driven decisions to help teams adopts such practices within their circles. If done right, this opportunity has the best shot at inducing change.