Learnings from a friend’s “Elements of a Losing Culture”


I just read my good friend and mentor Bjorn’s blog post and it made me think about how closely tied a business culture is to the analytics used in that business. Bjorn posted, “Success leaves clues and so does its opposite. Reality checks are important so we can tell where we are and properly assess what needs to be done. When we can’t seem to find the clues indicating a successful culture it’s time to look for its opposite.”

Let’s look at that comment from an analyst’s prospective. One of the clues I look for in a successful organization is an understanding of how decisions are made. Are they top down? Are the inclusive? And most importantly to me, how much data is analyzed prior to making decisions. For the most part great companies make great decisions and this feeds a successful and healthy culture. When decisions are made off the cuff, with little input from the ranks and without the benefit of good data… you get a recipe for a losing culture.

Bjorn mentions several other indicators of a Losing Culture. I want to add some data driven perspectives to them as well.

1. Lack of clear target, vision, etc. Having good metrics to monitor progress. Setting goals and then reporting and communicating them. There are key ways you can measure if a business has a healthy focus.

2. Lack of alignment. People don’t know how to compare themselves or even worse improve themselves. There is no sense of the big picture and little effort to work across business lines or help other teams. You need a lot of visualization of data and analysis to show how it all fits together. Dashboards and internal web sites, using visualizations like info graphics and data visuals can help people feel aligned and give them a sense of where they fit in.

3. Lack of authenticity. Know if your customers care. Knowing if your employees care about your customers and each other. Knowing if you stack up well with the competition. Knowing what about your business causes others pain and what causes satisfaction. Using surveys, focus groups and other tools to gather feedback will help your business be authentic to your customers and your employees. You cant really have loyal and engaged customers if you don’t come across to them as authentic.

To learn more about Bjorn and his consulting business, you can follow him here: http://fortune100coach.wordpress.com/


Big Data and Analytics: How to avoid going the way of the Dinosaur!


“More than 99% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct. The causes of species extinction include the predictable — predator-prey relationships, for example — to the unpredictable, such as an asteroid collision. Similarly, 90% of Fortune 500 companies since 1955 no longer exist. Businesses, like species, face perils that range from identifiable risks to true uncertainty or unknowns. Uncertainties pose unknowable and hence unmanageable threats. Risks, however, can be explicitly accepted, avoided, or transferred. Organizations that are fully exploiting big data are actively uncovering and converting uncertainty into known risk as well as addressing and exploiting competitive vulnerabilities.”

The following three big-data analytics keys are critical to supporting a proper understanding of risk versus uncertainty — and ultimately leveraging risk for competitive advantage.

1. Healthy Analytics Culture. The first key to using big data analytics to survive is empowering business owners and leaders with the ability to use data to drive decision-making. There is so much data to analyze, so using cutting edge analytics tools and employing curious and proactive analytical professionals help maintain a healthy culture.

2. Segmenting Risks. The second key is know how to identify and classify risk. When you come across a risk in your business you have to assign the right team or person to investigate the risk. To understand if it should be accepted, avoided or somehow transferred. Accepting risks means you have to monitor it and make sure its controllable. Avoided risks require changes in strategy or process, often needing people to lead a new way to do things. Transferring the risk means you need to trade-off things or hiring someone else to take the risk from you. Big Data analytics allow you to investigate, assess and segment risks.

3. Accept, Avoid or Transfer Risks. Once you have decided how to segment risk, then you need to take action. You need to set up a mitigation strategy, you need to monitor the risk and you be capable of re-segmenting the risk if it changes.

Businesses that can access their big data, that can analysis it and that use it to drive decision-making will survive. Ones that do not will go out of business, be acquired or just go the way of the dinosaurs.