- Strategies for Effective Data Leadership
- Stakeholders are not your customers! Why calling them customers is killing your leadership ambitions.
Stakeholders are not your customers! Why calling them customers is killing your leadership ambitions.
Happy New Year Data Team! 🎉
First of all, I want to say a warm hello to the new subscribers who have joined over the new year period and a big welcome back to those who’ve been here since 2023.
I’ve been lucky enough to spend the holiday period visiting family in Australia and have been extra lucky to avoid the cold UK winter (at least until I go back next week)! ❄️
This is my first post of 2024 and I’m so excited to be here with you all. ✌🏼
Let’s dive into this week’s post!
🙅🏼♂️ Stop Calling Your Business Stakeholders Customers!
One of my biggest pet peeves when speaking to my data leadership coaching clients is hearing them refer to the business stakeholders in their companies as “customers”. 💀
They’ll say, “we have to build this dashboard for the customer” or “our customers expect a turn around time of 2 hours!”.
When I hear this some serious alarm bells go off in my head 🚨. Unless you work specifically for a consultancy and they are literally paying you for the work you provide via a client/consultant relationship then you must never refer to them as a customer.
Not only are you limiting the perception of the data team throughout the business as solely as service provider, you are also potentially sabotaging your own career growth.
The goal as a successful data team leader to position yourself and your team as equal partners in the organisation with so much more to offer than simply responding to your ‘customers needs’.
🤝 Collaboration Vs Transaction:
Treating stakeholders as customers will results in a transactional relationship. While a transactional relationship may limit creativity and engagement, a collaborative relationship is more likely to lead to shared goals, mutual understanding, and more innovative solutions.
Viewing colleagues as partners rather than customer will foster a culture where everyone feels responsible for the outcomes. Responsibility leads to better data quality, more relevant analytics, and a stronger alignment with business objectives.
⚡️Synergies of Diverse Expertise
Stakeholders as ‘customers’ creates an us and them dynamic that all but rules out effective collaboration and idea sharing between the data team and the other business domains. Combining the diverse expertise of data teams with the operational knowledge of other departments can lead to more effective problem-solving and innovation.
💣 Breakdown Silos for Organisational Agility
Partnership between data and business teams will help in breaking down silos within the organisation. This not only improves data projects but also enhances overall organisational agility with regard to how effectively the company responds to market changes. BIG WIN!
👩🏽🏫 Educating and Empowering Users Across the Business
A shift in the customer to partner relationship from merely delivering data solutions to will often result in data teams teaching colleagues to understand and leverage data more effectively in their roles. The benefit of this is that it frees data teams up to work on more high value business challenges.
And isn’t that what we all want in our roles?
🔃 Feedback Loops and Co-creation
Treating colleagues as partners creates more effective feedback loops and opportunities for co-creation. This leads to more tailored data solutions and greater buy-in across the organisation.
As data leaders our job is to fight for data teams and data capabilities to have a seat at the top table and to demand the influence that data needs to help our organisations succeed. By shifting the relationship from customer to partner we can go a long way in achieving this.
Good luck with the journey and if you need any help along the way, you know where to find me!
⚡️Whenever you are ready here are a few ways I can help you: