Data Culture Eats Data Strategy For Breakfast

Culture ➡️ Strategy ➡️ Technology

Before I dive in to today’s topic, I need your help with something! (don’t worry it’s free and fun) You can find out about it at the bottom of today’s newsletter!

🤔 Data Culture? What’s that?

Most companies have 0 idea. I’m deadly serious. 💀

But here’s a little clue:

A data culture refers to all the mushy non-tech stuff about how a company thinks about and works with data.

This includes attitudes and behaviours towards data, as well as the emphasis the organisations places on striving towards the holy grail: data driven or data informed approaches to decision making.🏆

But most companies are nowhere near the holy-grail.

They’re not even in the holy-land!

They think the key to success with data lies with tools and technology. Fat lot of good any of that will do without the right culture in place. So they keep chalking up failed investment in data after failed investment in data.

Before you invest in tech, before you devise a data strategy, you’ll need a data culture.

Let’s dive in!

📀 First Off, Let’s Define a Data Culture

It usually refers to the following high level topics with respect to data:

  • Leadership and Strategic Alignment

  • Data Literacy and Skills Development

  • Collaborative Data Practices

  • Data Driven Decision Making

  • Innovation and Adaptability in Data Utilisation

  • Data Governance and Ethical Use

Performance against these 6 pillars are typically what determines how strong an organisation’s data culture is going to be.

For example, if leadership is not aligned with the value add of data or does little to promote or activate data around the business, then there is going to be little appetite from people below them throughout the business to engage in data-centric activities.

Again, if data literacy is poor, then data initiatives are very unlikely to gather support from non-data peers.

As you can see, these pillars typically refer to the understanding and appreciation for data from non-data stakeholders.

These are also no tech-centric pillars. As mentioned above, tech is not going to achieve anything without first of all a data culture, and then a data strategy in place.

🤷‍♂️ Why is a Data Culture So Dang Important?

Data is misunderstood.

The biggest misconception is that data is a technical discipline and something that is very complicated and confusing for non-technical people - aka business leaders.

When in fact, data is a business discipline that, like every other area of a modern business, relies on tools and technology.

But none the less, data is sat next to IT and Engineering in people’s minds.

This all results in what is commonly known as: DATA FEAR 👻

So what’s this got to do with a data culture?

A data culture needs to be in place in order to remove the fear first of all, and then to align the business in such a way that it can capitalise effectively on it’s most valuable asset: It’s data.

Without a culture in place, it is near impossible to create a data strategy, and in lieu of either of those 2 things, businesses go about investing in data with a technology first mindset.

This results in misalignment with organisational strategy and little to no definition of ROI or what success needs to looks like. GIGANTIC FAIL 🚫

📐 Understanding Your Organisation’s Data Culture

Anyone wanting to influence their organisation’s data culture for the better needs to understand where their culture is currently at.

There is not really a one size fits all approach to influencing and ultimately overhauling an organisation’s data culture. Culture change is notoriously one of the trickiest things to accomplish.

It may be that your organisation is particularly week on the data literacy front, but your leaderships attitudes towards data are relatively healthy.

Or between business teams there is strong collaboration via data, but few decisions are executed as a result of insights by the management layer.

It is essential to get a baseline understanding of your organisation’s data culture maturity before you can deploy a plan to fix it.

But, don’t worry your little head because I’ve got you covered. Read on: 


I’m currently developing a Data Culture Maturity assessment tool and I need guinea pigs like you guys to take it for a spin.

It’s a simple online tool where I’ll ask you to assess the data maturity of your organisation - don’t worry - it will be 100% anonymous for both you and your company.

At the end of the exercise I will shoot over a score for your org’s data maturity as well as it’s performance against each of the above pillars.

If you’d like to help out please let me know via the link below.

That’s it for today’s newsletter, but when you’re ready, I’d love to help you solve the data leadership challenges you’re facing.

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

Check out what Sofia in the USA had to say:

“I highly recommend Tris as a data leadership coach. His professionalism and personalized approach to developing data strategies ensured that my unique needs as a multicultural strategist and my challenges were always addressed effectively. His clear and insightful communication style provided me with the tools I needed to implement strategies with confidence. Tris has been instrumental in guiding me towards achieving my professional goals, and I wholeheartedly give him an outstanding rating.”

If you’d like a free 1:1 intro call to discuss, you can book me right here.