Archives For #Transformation

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

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