Archives For #Business_Leadership

Each day we seem to be bombarded with more and more hype about the need for Proxy Leaders aka Chief Whatever Officers and other Fashion Statements such as Data Scientists. There are specialist recruiters, IT Analysts and Conference organizers who promote these roles along with a chorus of IT people who seem to not have much respect for their boss, the CIO. Frankly, I am sick of hearing/reading all of it and in spite of my best efforts to tune out these voices out they seem to be everywhere. It appears to me that the entire vendor, analyst & pundit community have sold the farm on the success of these IT Superheroes in spite of a legacy of more than 50 years of failure by IT to lead in respect to Data, Information & Analytics. I am not one of these “true believers in the next data prophet”. For my money when it comes to creating effective Data Leadership  I am going to bet on the traditional organizational hierarchy which begins with the CEO (in partnership with his/her Board). To that end that is why I have devised The Data Leadership Nexus in the fashion that I didFor those who have been following my Data Leadership Nexus articles, blogs and tweets you know that I have been promoting the notion that “2015 – The Year of (Top-Down) Data Leadership”.

In support of this, I have been working with Clients and other Like-Minded Thinkers to develop 5-year plans for CEO’s & Boards to transform their Organizations into Predictive Enterprises within this timeframe (if not sooner). To help better understand what that journey looks like from the perspective of those who have already undertaken it (albeit on a slightly different path at times) I am authoring a new series which profiles these Data Leaders.  It is loosely modeled after JFK’s book entitled “Profiles in Courage” something that I was inspired by in my youth.

I have several of these profiles in development now. The first two out of the gate will be;

  • Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley the CEO behind CitiStat (Baltimore) and StateStat (Maryland)
  • Brian Cornell, the new CEO of Target Corporation
  • Jim Smith, CEO of Thomson Reuters
  • Alistair Currie, CEO/COO of ANZ Bank

I believe that you will find all of these profiles very compelling and all will run counter to the many waves of hype that you are subject to on a daily basis in respect to data & analytics advocacy and management. Look for these postings in the coming days. In the meantime you can Recap (or read in full detail) all aspects of The Data Leadership Nexus starting here: (https://infomgmtexec.me/2014/09/16/recap-the-data-leadership-nexus/)

Stay Tuned!

Richard

“Courage profiles” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

October & November will be frantic months of activities with a strong focus on Conferences. Check back often for updates and additions. In most cases I will be Tweeting and Blogging live from each conference;

Conferences:

Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP): “2014 Change Connect Symposium” – October 1-2 – Microsoft Campus Commons (http://www.acmppnwnetwork.org/?page_id=326)

Digital Analytics Association (DAA): “Monster Analytics Mashup” – October 16th – Microsoft Conference Center (http://www.digitalanalyticsassociation.org/calendar_day.asp?date=10/16/2014&event=260#.VCWfF8LF-yM)

Information Age (UK): “Data Leadership 2014” – October 30th – The Grange Tower Bridge Hotel (London) (http://www.dataleadership.co.uk) :

Keynote: “Embracing The Data Leadership Nexus for Strategic Success”

UK Open Data Initiative: “ODI Summit 2014” – November 2-4 – British Film Institute (London) (http://summit.theodi.org/)

Articles:

IBM Big Data Hub: “The Privacy Corner”. “Discrimination and Other Abuses drive the Need for Ethics in Big Data” (http://ibm.co/1sKmkx0)

Information Age (UK): “Transforming into a Predictive Enterprise” (http://www.information-age.com/technology/information-management/123458506/holy-grail-big-data-becoming-predictive-enterprise)

Information Age (UK): “The State of Open Data” (November 15th (URL to be posted at time of publishing)

IBM Big Data Hub: “The Privacy Corner”. “Have we already lost the Privacy battle?” (November – Date TBD)

The Data Leadership Nexus (Blog):

“Reflections on Data Leadership 2014” (November 4th)

“How to Successfully Execute your Transformational Plan for becoming a Predictive Enterprise” (November 15th)

“The Data Leadership Nexus: (Recap)” (Updates throughout the month) (https://infomgmtexec.me/2014/09/16/recap-the-data-leadership-nexus/)

 

The Data Leadership Nexus is a path to success when it comes to realizing the numerous business benefits of Big Data and Advanced Analytics which have been extolled by so many in recent times and yet realized by so few. It is the linchpin of your Strategic Plan for building & sustaining “a culture of analytics” to foster evidence-based decisioning, deeper & broader insights, full knowledge exploitation and optimized strategic performance while making these behaviors pervasive across your entire enterprise. In my mind it is the path to realize everything data-related that we have been working on for more than 50 years now in Management Theory, Decision Science and Information Technology.

By definition: The Data Leadership Nexus is the intersection of; Top-Down Executive Leadership, A fully aligned Organizational Culture and the full exploitation of Data, Information, Analytics to create strategic outcomes, sustainable sources of competitive advantage and enterprise value within every organization that wants to become a Predictive Enterprise.

I define a Predictive Enterprise as: “The use of Predictive Capabilities driven by data, information & analytics to; optimize decision making, facilitate strategic & operational outcomes, mitigate risks and to exploit insights across the entire Enterprise”

The Data Leadership Nexus is comprised of these basic components;

  • Top-Down Leadership (by the Senior Executive Team)
  • Data, Information & Analytics
  • Organizational Culture 

Each component was discussed in detail in previous postings. They can be found using the following links;

#: Overview & Introduction:  https://infomgmtexec.me/2014/08/05/overview-the-data-leadership-nexus/

#: The Motivation behind The Data Leadership Nexushttps://infomgmtexec.me/2014/07/25/data-analytics-leadership-missing-in-action/

#: Top-Down Leadership:   https://infomgmtexec.me/2014/08/11/leadership-requirements-in-the-predictive-enterprise/

#: Organizational Culturehttps://infomgmtexec.me/2014/08/28/the-role-of-organizational-culture-in-the-predictive-enterprise/

#: Data, Information & Analyticshttps://infomgmtexec.me/2014/09/09/data-information-analytics-as-core-competencies-in-the-predictive-enterprise/

#: Additional Background Material: “Transformational Leadership for Big Data & Analytics Success” (Three-part series): 

  1. https://infomgmtexec.me/2014/06/27/transformational-leadership-for-big-data-analytics-success/
  2. https://infomgmtexec.me/2014/07/11/transformational-leadership-for-big-data-analytics-success-part-2-establishing-top-down-accountability/
  3. https://infomgmtexec.me/2014/07/20/transformational-leadership-for-big-data-analytics-success-part-3-organizational-design-cultural-adoption/

In future postings I will discuss; “How to Build & Successfully Execute your Transformational Plan for becoming a Predictive Enterprise using The Data Leadership Nexus as a Strategic Enabler”. 

The notion of The Data Leadership Nexus has five basic components;

1.- Top-Down Leadership (by the Senior Executive Team)

2.-4.- Data, Information & Analytics

5.- Organizational Culture 

In this posting entitled,“Organizational Culture” I will discuss one of the most widely mis-understood and under appreciated elements in creating a Predictive Enterprise, that of Organizational Culture and the imperative to change it from being data & analytics illiterate to one where information & analysis is used by everyone to drive each decision and to facilitate every strategic & operational outcome.

The Culture of any Enterprise is based on the long-term strategic direction that the organization has undertaken over the course of its history and the collective experiences along the way. It is shaped daily by the actions and activities of the Leadership Team who have guided this journey. Organizational Culture is the shadow of the Chief Executive Officer (and Senior Executive Team) and is found behind every door and felt down every corridor in the Organization. It is the single thread that ties everyone together within any Organization. Given this, Organizational Culture is the most important component of The Data Leadership Nexus that must be leveraged in order to transform an organization into a true Predictive Enterprise.

As one would expect this Cultural Adoption (transformation) must be driven by the Top-Down Leadership of the CEO and his or her Senior Executive Team. We discussed in my last segment on Top-Down Leadership just how essential it is for the entire Executive Team to “walk the talk” in respect to becoming a Predictive Enterprise. This will manifest from their own competencies and acumen in data & analytics and how they position the use of them in every strategic and operational endeavor that the Organization is involved in. Their Leadership comes from these strengths and their lock-step application of the strategic constructs of;

  • “Information as an Asset”
  • “Evidence-based Decisioning”
  • “Information-driven Risk Management”
  • “Competitive Advantage through Advanced Analytics (everywhere)”

Once Top-Down Leadership has set the tone and direction for the “data & analytics way-forward” by their own personal commitments (via OBM goals) and demonstrated actions, then the Organization must address how to “adapt” the Current State Culture into the Future State model. Many Organizations would tend do apply the traditional Change Management (CM) techniques of; Communications, Training & Readiness Preparation and call it a day. In my experience this will not work by itself. Cultural Adoption is not Change Management!

Cultural Adoption requires Engagement, BootStrapping and Practical Application endeavors to augment traditional CM. It requires the Top-Down Leadership Team to directly Engage with the Organization at all levels. This is not a hierarchical exercise, where “orders from the top” can be cascaded down, but a lateral one where these leaders bring their messages directly to the Front Lines of the Organization,  while personally demonstrating to their own subordinates the commitments that they have made to the successful Transformation into a Predictive Enterprise and all that it portends for success. These Engagement efforts must be genuine and felt by all. The entire Top-Down Leadership team must be in sync working in unison towards the common goal and outcome.

In parallel with Engagement, the Organization must BootStrap everyone’s abilities & understandings as to what becoming a Predictive Enterprise entails and how each of them will play a role regardless of job description. Everyone must be on-board with the plan and approach and be actively participating in the pursuit of the transformational outcome via Training, Mentoring, Coaching & Hands-on Instruction. This will create Cultural Adoption momentum that can be sustained through the continuous application of Engagement and bolstered through the daily Practical Application of data & analytics to every decision and pursuit of operational outcomes.

Practical Application is one of the most critical activities because it intersects with Relevance. For any Culture to Adapt there must be strong Leadership, the attainment of Competencies and Understandings as to the Future State Direction, but also Relevance to them personally. Whether a Mature Enterprise or Start-up each member of the Organization must feel a sense of purpose in order to be an active member of the Culture, much less a contributor to the successful outcome of the transformation strategy. It is essential for all levels of Leadership to empower all members of their Organizational Unit to be contributors to the notion of being a Predictive Enterprise. In most cases this will require a complete re-evaluation of roles and responsibilities such that decision making and insights analytics are core to each Information Workers daily activities.

To become a Predictive Enterprise you need committed Top-Down Leadership and a Culture driven by the pursuit of a common strategy & its goals to then fully exploit your rich Data & Information Assets and Deep Analytics Capabilities. In this posting I have endeavored to provide a thin veneer of the requirements and complexities in adapting your Organizational Culture to become a Predictive Enterprise. It is one of the most significant investments in time, energy and resources but an essential one in becoming a Predictive Enterprise.

In my next installment of The Data Leadership Nexus I will explore for my readers the more familiar areas of Data, Information & Analytics, but from what most will regard as a very different perspective than other Thought Leaders.  Look forward to seeing it soon.

RL

 

 

 

In my last post, I laid out the notion of The Data Leadership Nexus and its five basic components;

  • Top-Down Leadership (by the Senior Executive Team)
  • Data, Information & Analytics
  • Organizational Culture 

I will discuss the most important component of The Data Leadership Nexus in this posting entitled, “Leadership Requirements in the Predictive Enterprise”. 

Much has been written about the criticality of strong Leadership. It is an essential requirement to becoming a Predictive Enterprise. One of the foremost thinkers on Leadership, Warren Bennis passed away just last month (July 2014). He chronicled the attributes and characteristics of “The Modern Leader” in his many books on the subject, but his basic conclusion (in my words) on the role of Leadership was; “We can neither transform, nor reach successful strategic outcomes without strong and effective Leadership from the Top Down”. It is on this point alone that I continue to bristle against the growing advocacy for “Chief Whatever Officers”.

No matter the domain (data, data protection, data security, analytics, digital, etc.), I do not agree with the constant drumbeat to appoint a “czar” to fix (or enhance) a function which is the direct accountability of the Senior Executive Team (whom I will refer to as the SET going forward). What is required here is to address the data, information & analytics shortcomings of the Current Generation of Senior Executives in respect to the Key Attributes of; Education, Acumen, Competency & Operational Experience such that they (and only them) can take assume their critical (and natural) role in the The Data Leadership Nexus. We cannot continue to run away from the real problem as to why we are not realizing the benefits from 50+ years of investing inordinately in data, information & (most recently) analytics. Clearly, the CIO (in all forms and incarnations) has not been able to accomplish this and no type of proxy will be able to be successful either. It is simply a waste of precious time and resources to go down this path (CDO, CAO, etc.) and then discover it didn’t work (once again).

Let’s get started. As some of you may have gathered from my recent article in IBM’s Data Magazine ( http://bit.ly/1vvhwea ) the vast majority of today’s Senior Executives do not have all (or even some) of these major attributes in their favor when it comes to Data Leadership. Suffice it to say that these were not essential as they climbed the organizational ladder and honed their Executive skills over the past several decades. However, because of these shortcomings they now find themselves acting as cheerleaders for strategies and capabilities that they do not really understand in detail, nor can lead from a position of strength. This has lead to the use of a crutch by appointing “a czar” (proxy) or being too timid altogether in pursuing sound strategies and outcomes (i.e. limited capital & manpower investments, short-term benefits realization horizons, being “gun shy” of risks, etc.). This short-sightedness has not compensated for their lack of Education, Acumen, Competency & Operational Experience in data, information & analytics and  is subjecting them to the fundamental executive shortcoming of: “You can’t lead (to success) what you don’t understand”.  How we overcome this challenge is the critical path to success in achieving the Leadership component of The Data Leadership Nexus.

The most immediate path to overcoming these Leadership challenges is to bootstrap all of the required attributes for each member of the Senior Executive Team via Mentoring, Coaching, Advisory activities and Academies/Boot Camps. Time is precious with each of these SET members so a personalized plan must be developed and executed in a fashion that demonstrates real-time progress and an acceleration of results to get to a level of capabilities and understandings consistent of the needs for true Data Leadership. These plans will then have a long-range view in order to maximize and sustain results. There are many Boutique Tier 1 & Tier 2 consultancies who have the practice capabilities to fill these requirements for their clients. Most realize, along with myself that it is essential to transfer the required domain knowledge and skills to SET members to achieve strategic success for the Client Organization. At the end of the day, The Client must lead with Advisors/Consultants providing a supporting role in the background. While these boundaries blur at times, it is the most proven path to success in both the short and long haul.

Most importantly we must better prepare the Next Generation of Executives for their own Data Leadership roles by baking all of these same attributes into every aspect of their personal and professional development activities such that they too can assume the mantle of leadership when it is their time and be fully prepared (and tested in advance) for it.

It’s a challenge to provide the necessary detail of the path forward in a short posting, but I hope that I have conveyed not only the necessity of Top Down Data Leadership, but the urgency of addressing the current shortcomings in today’s Senior Executive Teams such that they can assume this accountability along with all of the others they currently have.

In my next posting I will jump down our list of Basic Components to #5 – Organizational Culture. It is a companion to Top Down Data Leadership and is the reflection of how effective and persuasive that the Senior Executive Team is in both articulating and ultimately executing the Organizations’ Data, Information & Analytics Strategies & Tactics. Look for this next posting sometime soon.

Richard

 

I have a number of Thought Leadership items slated for going live in August. Below is a listing of their titles and publication dates.

  • August 1st (WordPress Blog Series): “The Chief Data Officer: – Superhero, False God of Data or Fashion Statement? – Reflections on the MIT 8th Annual CDO & IQ Symposium” (Cambridge, MA) (www.infomgmtexec,me)
  • August 5th (WordPress Blog Series): “Overview: The Data Leadership Nexus” (www.infomgmtexec.me)
  • August Early (approx) – IBM Big Data & Analytics Hub: The Privacy Corner – “Privacy and Social Experimentation” (www.ibmbigdatahub.com). If you want to follow all of my blogs on the Big Data & Analytics Hub use this link to set up an RSS feed: (http://www.ibmbigdatahub.com/blog/feed/richard-lee)
  • August 11th (WordPress Blog Series): “The Data Leadership Nexus: Leadership Requirements in the Predictive Enterprise” (www.infomgmtexec.me)
  • August Late – Sept. Early: Information Age: Monthly Column – “The Data Leadership Nexus” (1st installment in this series) (www.information-age.com)
  • August 30th (WordPress Blog Series): “The Data Leadership Nexus: Organizational Change” (www.infomgmtexec.me)

Keep an eye out for calendar updates and additional postings.

Enjoy!

RL

Churchill_V_sign_HU_55521As many readers of my articles, blogs and other social media postings well know I am a strong advocate for Business Leaders taking full accountability for all of the Big Data & Analytics strategies & initiatives employed across their enterprises. This accountability manifests from the fact that they are not only positioned at the pinnacle of all strategic endeavors within their organization, but have full responsibility for the stewardship of all Assets as they are defined in both a tangible and intangible fashion. Having said this the $64,000 question that lingers is: “Are they prepared, much less competent enough to take on this accountability?”. The answer for the most part is a resounding NO.

Why is this? As I outlined in my June 2014 article in IBM Data Mag (http://bit.ly/1vvhwea) and April 2014 article in Information Age (http://bit.ly/1j16Vk6), the paramount issues regarding the successful adoption and exploitation of Big Data & Analytics are two-fold: Business Leadership Shortcomings & Lack of Cultural Adoption. Both are very much inter-related and one takes its cue from the other i.e. Culture follows Leadership for the most part. The articles speak to the specifics in more detail than what I will address here, but let me excerpt a few salient quotes;

  • “Today’s Executives & Managers are trained primarily in Operations, Finance, Marketing & Sales, along with a bit of Strategy thrown in for good measure. If you review the profiles of the vast majority of senior executives about 50% have an advanced degree in their field of expertise (MBA, JD, CPA, etc.) but virtually none have been schooled in Decision Science, Information Theory, Analytics or Risk Management.”
  • “Organizations’ remain hierarchical in both structure and cultural behavior today. To change either of these requires engaged & competent Senior Executive teams who are committed to the outcome and will influence & align behaviors to support it.”
  • “The Big Data & Analytics paradigm is based on the notion that Organizations must more fully exploit their information assets and move to a culture of fact-based & data-driven decisioning in order to create new sources of sustainable competitive advantage in a disruptive world around them. To accomplish this, you clearly must engage all elements of the organization, not just a select few. Everyone must make this cultural shift away from hierarchical thinking & “gut-based” decision making to one where the full hierarchy is empowered based on their role & responsibilities to perform analysis and to make decisions as close to the “customer” as possible”

Based on all of this, I will get back to the theme of this posting; “The need for true Transformational Leadership to insure the pervasive success of Big Data & Analytics”. This was the message that I hammered on during this week’s #CXOAnalytics tweetchat with Tom Davenport and John Lucker (Deloitte, who sponsored the tweet-up) and will continue to reinforce at the upcoming MIT #CDOIQ event as well as in my presentation at October’s “Data Leadership 2014” event in London (http://bit.ly/1wFl2n2). I cannot emphasize to everyone enough that we are not going to solve this challenge by appointing Chief Data Officers, Chief Digital Officers, etc. to act as “Communicators and Influencers” between the IT Organization, Risk Management and Business Leadership. No matter what the pundits say and prognosticate, it is not a sustainable model and distracts from the true issue at hand – “Getting Business Leaders to rise to their Accountabilities”.

In my management consulting experience, much less as an executive in senior roles across my career, I have never seen Business Leaders shrink away from the opportunity to take on more and more strategic responsibilities in order to grow their portfolios as well as to deliver transformational results to their business. So why are they not taking ownership of Big Data & Analytics? We know that they are out there cheerleading these efforts based on customer testimonials and event presentations, but virtually none of these same folks “own, much less are fully accountable for its success (or failure)”. Most continue to leave this to IT or some surrogate. I believe that this is due to a lack of any fundamental competency, acumen and mastery in information theory, data science and analytics which leaves them extremely deficient in confidence, vision and leadership potential. In other words, “You cannot lead if you don’t understand what it is you are asked to lead”.

To overcome this we must take actions in the following areas;

1.- Define, Fund & Execute – Mentoring, Coaching and Instructional Programs to bootstrap the current generation of Business Leaders up the level of knowledge (and confidence) required to Lead existing Big Data & Analytics endeavors.

2.- Identify candidates for Next Generation Leadership roles and Mentor & Educate them to advanced levels of competency and acumen such that as they mature into more senior roles they have both the foundation in Big Data & Analytics required, but the hands-on leadership skills (and organizational knowledge) to succeed.

3. – Engage with the Organization’s Culture at Large to make the Big Data & Analytics Vision and its exploitation “Job No.1” for everyone. This engagement requires not only top-down leadership to drive it, but appropriate Change Management and Organizational Design experts to facilitate Cultural Adoption in the Transformed Organization.

These three points each merit a number of detailed follow-up postings which i will focus on for the balance of this Summer, but I did want to live up to the spirt of my title; you need “Transformational Leadership to achieve Big Data & Analytics Success”.

Cheers,

RL