Transformational Leadership for Big Data & Analytics Success – Part 3: Organizational Design & Cultural Adoption

July 20, 2014 — 3 Comments

In the two previous installments of this series, I focused my viewpoint on;

1.- Defining a Leadership Paradigm for Big Data & Analytics Success

2.- Establishing Top-Down Accountability

In this final installment I will focus on the roles that optimized Organizational Design and broad Cultural Adoption play in the success of any Big Data & Analytics Success Story.

Suffice it to say, you cannot simply establish Top-down Accountability within the Leadership Hierarchy and expect to achieve real transformation. You must also create a “to be” Organizational Model that is optimized for the strategic mission and the realization of its outcomes, as well as bringing the entire Organization’s Culture on board to support this vision and the pursuit of the outcomes that come with it. Without these critical Organizational endeavors you will not be successful with your Big Data & Analytics Transformation no matter how strong of a Leadership Hierarchy you have created.

Your Leadership Hierarchy (beginning with the CEO & Board and then cascading down to Senior Executives and their subordinates) is collectively responsible for making realizable all of the Big Data & Analytics strategic outcomes as part of their overall operational plans and activities. To accomplish this the Leadership Hierarchy must approach the challenge with an optimized Organizational Structure that has been designed to be fit for purpose for this task and not one where you are trying to leverage a legacy structure that cannot adapt to this new mission. This has been one of the classic mistakes so far as Organizations’ attempt to “bolt on” their Big Data & Analytics strategy to existing structures, rather than address Organizational Design requirements as part of the strategy itself. Examples of this is the use of Competency Centers and Centers of Excellence as catalysts to create critical mass for Big Data & Analytics. Each time this approach is advocated and ultimately undertaken, poor results and a dissipation of Leadership buy-in results as they are not leverageable across the entire Enterprise and typically only serve the needs of the few and not the many. Quick fixes and Organizational band-aids will not work if you want Big Data & Analytics to be truly pervasive. Organizational Design is a process that supports the CEO & Board in moving from Strategy to its successful execution and will require appropriate investment and disruption of the status quo. It is an essential component of achieving the Strategic Outcomes that manifest from your Big Data & Analytics Strategy and should not be undertaken as an after thought. Like any other critical component of the Organization and its Operating Model it must be fully deployed at the time of your Transformation journey as one of the required elements for success .

Secondly, Cultural Adoption is the most critical challenge associated with any Big Data & Analytics strategy and must be fully appreciated, much less addressed at every point along the journey. It can be an accelerator or a de-limiter (much less killer) of any strategic journey and is the total responsibility of the Senior Executive Team to facilitate. Leadership from the top-down has its risks and the most substantial one is not engaging sufficiently and earnestly with the Organization’s Culture. Most of this risk manifests in the multiple layers of management & supervision between the responsible executive and their front-line staff. Culture cannot be changed by edict (or fiat), but rather must be motivated to adapt by a compelling strategy that is lead from the top-down with substantial hands on activities by the executive team to make it real and essential to each staff worker who make up so much of the Organization’s Culture. This cannot be achieved by what is called Change Management. Change Management is little more than cheerleading and communications, with far too much focus on training. It is a poor (if not failed) substitute for truly engaged Leadership working in the trenches to instill & empower all of the front-line staff to embrace Big Data & Analytics and make it truly pervasive in  their daily activities and mindsets. Every Organization that has been successful at real Transformation knows well the requirement to engage with the Culture and to motivate it to not only Adopt the new operating model, but become “rabid fanatics” about its virtues along the journey. Big Data & Analytics Transformational Strategies are no different and if anything, offer unique opportunities to completely transform an Organization from backwards, gut-driven decisioning to one that leverages information & analytics at every turn to be not-only fact-based decision makers, but a true Predictive Enterprise.

To Transform your Organization to become a Predictive Enterprise where Big Data, Information, Analytics and a Fact-based Culture all are leveraged to achieve sustained Competitive Advantage, Disruptive Results  and Market Dominance requires; Top Down Leadership & Accountability, an Optimized Organizational Structure and an Evolved/Engaged Culture. If any of these are missing or sub-optimal then the Strategic Outcomes projected within anyone’s plans will not be realized.

I will write on these same themes as I provide live blogging from this coming week’s MIT Chief Data Officer (CDO) & Information Quality Symposium in Cambridge. The agenda is quite full of interesting opportunities to provide a contrarian viewpoint on CDO vs. Transformational Leadership

RL

PS: I am launching in August & September a new series of thought leadership articles in Information Age (www.information-age.com) and at Data Leadership 2014 (www.dataleadership.co.uk) on the notion of “The Data Leadership Nexus”. These are meant to be a logical extension to this blog series on Transformational Leadership. Here is an overview:

The Data Leadership Nexus is the intersection of Data, Information, Analytics & Leadership to create strategic impact, differentiation and enterprise value within every organization. It represents the single biggest opportunity/challenge in realizing the benefits that have been extoled (and often hyped) about Big Data and Advanced Analytics. It is also the linchpin for establishing “a culture of analytics” and making it pervasive across each enterprise and is clearly the most ignored strategic risk in virtually every organization.

3 responses to Transformational Leadership for Big Data & Analytics Success – Part 3: Organizational Design & Cultural Adoption

  1. 

    Very interesting, important and valuable coverages!

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