- Strategies for Effective Data Leadership
- ☠️ Visualise Or Die. Why the Humble Chart is Crucial in Data Leadership
☠️ Visualise Or Die. Why the Humble Chart is Crucial in Data Leadership
Data is only as good as your ability to communicate it.
I get into plenty of beefs on LinkedIn. It’s not surprising, I take a hard line on things quite often.
One of those things I take a hard line on is that, in my opinion, the most crucial data analyst skill is: Communication 📣
Communication trumps everything - even the ability to perform data analysis.
My (fr)enemies argue that without data analysis skills there is nothing to communicate!
Well, that argument goes both ways. If you can’t communicate your analysis then having performed it was a gigantic waste of time.
In any case, these 2 skills are not mutually exclusive. Both are needed to do the job effectively. But I would take a strong communicator with basic analysis skills over a terrific analyst with basic comms skills every. single. day.
Particularly when it comes to leadership and communicating with stakeholders.
Let’s find out why. 🔰
📈 Visualise to Materialise
In an age where data is king, effective data visualisation is crucial for leaders. Yet, many struggle to convey complex data insights in an accessible manner, which hinders decision-making and strategic planning. No bueno.
🤦🏻♀️ Let’s Face it: A Lot of Us Suck at This
Leaders often face challenges in interpreting and presenting data to stakeholders. It’s not that the data is not available, it’s that they lack the ability to tell stories with data and to construct useful narratives involving data visualisations.
🙅🏼♂️ Don’t Tell Me, Show Me.
Poor data visualisation can lead to misunderstandings, overlooked opportunities, and misinformed decisions, significantly impacting organisational performance.
It will invariably result in a lack of engagement from stakeholders, who may find it difficult to grasp the significance of the data presented. In the worst cases, it can lead to strategic missteps, as critical data points are lost in translation between the data teams and leadership.
↩️ Strategies To Turn This Around
Invest in Visualisation Tools: I’m not the biggest BI tool fan out there, but they make life a hell of a lot easier. So adopt modern data visualisation tools that can transform complex data sets into clear, interactive, and engaging visuals. These will also be sharable across the business which, with sufficient training, can result in positive data democratisation.
Develop Visual Literacy: Enhance your understanding of how to interpret and present data visually. Focus on learning about different types of charts, graphs, and interactive elements suitable for various data types. You ability to find the most suitable data viz for your data story will have an incredible impact on your ability to communicate it.
Simplify and Focus: Aim for simplicity in your visualisations. Highlight key data points and trends rather than overcrowding the visual with too much information. As well, if using slides, keep the number of charts to no more than 2 per slide. If using 2 charts, they must be complimentary and only be used to provide additional context to your overall message.
Tailor Visuals to Your Audience: Understand your audience and tailor your visualisations to their level of expertise and interest. This ensures that the data is accessible and engaging to them. Trying to look smart by including loads of charts is a surefire way to kill the audience’s attention.
Continuous Learning and Feedback: Keep up-to-date with the latest trends in data visualisation and seek feedback on your visual presentations. Use this feedback to refine and improve your approach.
👋 The Conclusion-y Bit
Mastering the art of data visualisation is a critical skill for modern leaders. By embracing these steps, you can transform raw data into compelling narratives that drive informed decision-making.
⚡️Whenever you are ready here are a few ways I can help you: