The Tortoise and The Hare: Building a Culture of Analytics

Dateline: April 22, 2016

Welcome to our Friday WRAP – one thought-provoking idea to think about over the weekend.

Building a culture of analytics combines change management with technical competence.  Running the organization by numbers and data is not always understood or accepted.  Recently, one of my International Institute of Analytics colleagues, Bill Franks, wrote a thought provoking blog about the speed of injecting an analytics mindset into an organization.  His blog, Change Your Business One Metric at a Time, tells the story of one of his clients who introduced one metric a month into his leadership team meetings.  While this pace was tortoise-like, compared to a hare-like approach of  introducing the complete change at one time, Franks observed,

My client could have taken the faster, hare-like approach and created an entire new suite of monthly summaries right from the start. After all, we had all of the analytics completed and the data was available. However, he had a goal to get the executives to change over the fiscal year, which gave him some time. He was concerned that throwing everything at them at once would overwhelm them and cause a lot of pushback. So, he took a different approach.

The first month, he added one simple customer-oriented metric to his presentation. He took the time to explain it and discuss why it was relevant. It was a digestible change and the executives accepted it. He left it the same way for one additional month and ensured that the executives remained comfortable with it. Then, he added a second customer-oriented metric to his presentation. Building on what they already knew, it too was easy to digest. Over the course of the year, he continued to add more customer views into his monthly presentation, including complex and nuanced metrics.

By the end of the fiscal year, the VP did successfully migrate the executive team to understanding and embracing a customer view of the business. The monthly presentation contained a fair number of new metrics and analytics and he was able to get the executives to begin to look at their business differently. At the end of the year, he felt that he wouldn’t have succeeded any faster if he had pushed harder. In fact, he wasn’t sure he would have succeeded at all.

How do you introduce change into your organization?  Are you a tortoise or a hare?

That’s a WRAP!  Have a great weekend!

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