And another thing data leaders suck at...

I hate long menus at restaurants…

Give me three options and I’m good to go in seconds. Fifty… I’ll starve to death.

This week I’m focusing on an area of data leadership that doesn’t get much attention. And that is our role in supporting the business to make data-informed decisions.

We talk a lot about providing the data to inform decisions, but how hands-on are we when it comes to guiding our peers and leadership teams through the decision making process?

In my experience not only do we suck at it, but our sucking at it makes sure our businesses suck at it too.

So let’s dive in and see how we can all suck at it a little less.

Tell me about it, man

🤔 Understanding Decision Making Dynamics

To effectively support decision making, data leaders must comprehend the intricacies of decision dynamics within their organisation.

Basically this means dissecting the dynamics of how leadership teams interact with each other when it comes to decision making. Who’s the big dog who always gets their way? Who’s the lapdog who agrees with the last opinion they heard?

It’s never simply a matter a putting data in front of people and expecting a mature and dispassionate approach. Oh no no no - it’s so much harder than that you guys!

By grasping these nuances, data professionals can tailor their support to align with organisational objectives and decision maker’s preferences and personalities.

📖Crafting Bloody Good Data Stories

Communication lies at the heart of effective data leadership. Data professionals must hone their ability to translate complex insights into clear, actionable recommendations.

This part is crucial because it’s recommendations that lie at the heart of organisational decision making.

We must crafting compelling narratives, leverage visualisation techniques, and foster collaborative dialogues with decision makers.

We literally bridge the gap between the data and the decision making process. Therefore, data leaders are central to the facilitation of informed discussions that drive consensus towards data driven outcomes.

👩‍🔬 Embracing Critical Thinking

In guiding decision-making, data leaders serve in the front line against intuitive biases and flawed reasoning.

Cultivating a culture of critical thinking involves challenging assumptions, interrogating underlying data quality, and assessing the validity of analytical methodologies.

By fostering a mindset of scepticism and inquiry, data professionals empower their colleagues to make evidence based decisions grounded in rigorous analysis rather than biased and instinctual judgement.

Tl:dr - stopping people from thinking with their hearts and getting them to think with their heads!

👨🏼‍💻 Manage Up Stupid

Effective data leadership hinges on empathy and influence - as does all leadership.

Understanding the various perspectives and concerns of decision makers allows data professionals to tailor their support accordingly and build trust based relationships.

By addressing their needs and aspirations with empathy, data leaders can wield greater influence in shaping the decision making processes. This low-key manipulation (jokes) enables us to champion data driven approaches while mitigating resistance and fostering organisational buy in.

💻 Continuous Learning and Adaptation

Data leadership, as with the discipline of data itself, is constantly evolving. This means that data leaders need to commit to continuous learning and adaptation.

We need to stay abreast of emerging technologies, industry trends, and best practices in decision science while simultaneously fostering a culture of experimentation and iterative improvement.

By embracing a growth mindset and a willingness to evolve, data leaders can position themselves as indispensable assets in driving organisational success through data driven decision making.

🔚 The Conclusiony Bit

Our role as data pros doesn’t just stop at analysis and making recommendations. We need to make sure those recommendations are considered and that decisions are made of the back of them!

To achieve this, we data leaders need to get damn good at supporting the decision making process of management teams. If we don’t, we risk all of our hard work being ignored. And who wants that?

Yo! When you’re ready, here’s how I can help you:

I provide 1:1 Data Leadership Career coaching to data leaders like you all over the world. The programs are flexible and 100% customised to your needs and areas of focus.

Just check out what my client Hannah had to say:

“Working with you has given me more confidence dealing with a number of issues in my current role. It's also prompted me to do more reading and thinking about data leadership and strategy, helping me clarify my future career direction.” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️