Transformational Leadership for Big Data & Analytics Success – Part 2: Establishing Top-down Accountability

July 11, 2014 — 2 Comments

In my last posting I outlined a pathway for Transformational Leaders to use in achieving pervasive Big Data & Analytics success within their organizations. In this installment I am going to focus on the specifics of Top Down Accountability by the entire Senior Executive Team as it leads these transformational efforts.

In spite of all the punditry regarding new management paradigms & leadership structures, the vast majority of all Public, Private & Non-Profit organizations remain hierarchical in structure and cultural behavior. This fact cannot be ignored when establishing both the Strategy for Big Data & Analytics Transformation (BDAT), as well as its execution plan. It is essential to success and If you choose not to leverage this dynamic or try to run counter to it you will fail to achieve any outcome of substance in my viewpoint.

The Senior Executive Team (SET) within each organization is typically organized around major functional elements of the operational model utilized. Strategic direction comes from the CEO & the Board and cascades down to the accountable Executives tasked with its execution and the successful realization of its outcomes. This well established dynamic becomes the means by which we truly transform legacy decision making (from gut-based to fact-focused), insights (minimal to maximal) and analysis (from backward-looking to predictive) to create a true analytics-driven enterprise. In this model, each Executive manifests Strategy Execution by using Big Data & Analytics pervasively across their domain of Accountability to maximize Outcomes. Responsible subordinates drive this down the hierarchy and embed it further into all of their Tactical & Operational endeavors with alignment horizontally. Front-line workers leverage & exploit the Organizations’ Big Data & Analytics operational activities daily.  To achieve this level of pervasiveness, all Senior Executives, subordinates & staff members must be fully committed to successful execution of the Strategy and competent in all the relevant aspects of the data & analytics which intersect with their area of responsibility. This cannot be delegated to  a 4th-level subordinate squirreled away somewhere in a cube who “gets it”. They all “must own it” and rise to the challenge through whatever means are available.

As mentioned previously mentorship, change management and formalized educational activities should be brought to bear in order to bootstrap all Accountable and Responsible Executives, Managers and Subordinates. This represents a major up-front investment by the Organization in the success of the transformational strategy and is a benchmark as to their true commitment to achieving its outcome.  Relying on Competency Centers, Centers of Excellence, Data Scientists, Chief Data Officers, Chief Analytics Officers and other proxies just will not cut it. If Enterprises are going to be successful with Big Data & Analytics then the Senior Executive Team must “walk the talk”. Nothing less will do.

This is clearly a major challenge & undertaking for the current generation of Senior Executives and a great number of their subordinates, but is should not be for the generation to follow. We all (Educators, Consultants, Advisors, Vendors, etc.) must work these transformational enterprises to insure that they develop the deep acumen and competencies within these future business leaders that we intersect with in our endeavors. We can no longer exclusively devote our time, energy and resources to those in the technology department as they are neither accountable or responsible in this future model. Their voice has been diminished and will not be heard at all unless they become more relevant to the more strategic conversation. For more on this see my July 2014 Information Age article (http://bit.ly/1sU3yol) on Leadership during the time of disruption.

In the end, No Enterprise will ever transform itself into a Big Data & Analytics Success unless the process is owned and executed by the Senior Executive Team from a top-down perspective. IT is powerless to achieve this outcome and it is delusional to think otherwise. The current generation of Senior Executives know their business models, competitive environment and organizational cultures well, but are hamstrung by the lack of formal education and competencies in Big Data & Analytics. This can be overcome with our assistance, but we should not lose sight of the end game which is the next generation of Transformational Business Leaders.

In the Final Installment on this topic (for now) I will focus on “Organizational Design & Cultural Adoption”. Stay tuned.

RL

 

 

 

 

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