Saturday, October 27, 2007

Leadership with Data Intelligence

One of the most underestimated facets of Data Intelligence and Analytics is its usage for executive leaders. I strongly believe that statistics can help someone to become a better leader, it should be part of any leadership practice. Unfortunately most leaders don’t embrace even the most basic statistical methodologies or principles.

There are primarily three areas of how leaders can use analytics and statistical methodologies to improve their leadership practice:
  • Identifying and Monitoring key success metrics: Every leader, independent of functional practice, should identify and fanatically monitor the top 10 to 20 performance measures that are relevant for understanding the dynamics of the function for which the leader is responsible. Most leaders don’t invest significant time and statistical expertise to identify these core performance metrics that are highly correlated to current and future functional success. They are accustomed to just reviewing the previously used metrics without ever truly understanding and questioning if these metrics are helpful, relevant, or predictive.
  • Setting Quantifiable Goals and Measuring its Deviation: Most leaders are slowly getting used to insisting on quantitative and measurable goals, not just on soft and vague high level goals like “Improve the overall talent quality of the sales team”. The good thing of quantifiable goals is that every leader can calculate the deviation of its team member’s goal achievements. The overview of the different deviations of a leader’s direct reports can facilitate a much more objective review of a team performance, especially if one tracks the performance deviation over a significant time period. This will provide not only a more systematic performance review for a leader’s direct report but also for leaders themselves: The more negative performance deviation a leader’s direct report has, the more one should question his or her leadership qualities
  • Insisting on data driven Insights as part of any decision process: I have seen too many leaders who are either totally obsessed on purely intuitive decision without ever considering data insights and I have met too many leaders who are only relying on data insights without ever considering anything else. A really talented leader is able to balance intuition and data intelligence in a productive manner and not getting paralyzed by one or the other. Unfortunately I haven’t met too many with this simple talent.

Hopefully popular books like “Freakonomics” and “Super Crunchers” will open up the eyes of more and more executives, so they can embrace data intelligence and analytics as part of their own personal leadership practice and capability.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Managing Uncertainty

This week AdAge published my thoughts about how to manage Uncertainty.
Your reactions to my initial posting months ago helped me fine-tuning my ideas for this article. Thank you!