Is Your Organization Capable of Competing in a Data Driven World? – Part 3

Getting Teams Equipped to Share Everything Not Just Some Things.

Technology has been both a cause for the challenges companies experience and the tools for success.  But it is the change in culture in the organization that allow leaders to leverage data driven decisions properly.

At the core of this journey to adaptability lay a yin-and-yang symmetry of shared consciousness, achieved through strict, centralized forums for communication and extreme transparency, and empowered execution, which involves the decentralization of managerial authority.  Together, these power the evolution of a data driven enterprise to use it properly.

Your transformation is reflective of the new generation of mental models we must adopt in order to make sense of the twenty-first century.  If we do manage to embrace this change, we can unlock tremendous potential for human progress.

So here are some of the principles we’ve developed over the years to enable and protect a healthy data driven culture.  I know that when you distill a complex idea into a T-shirt slogan, you risk giving the illusion of understanding – and, in the process, of sapping the idea of its power.  An adage worth repeating is also halfway to being irrelevant.  You end up with something that is easy to say but not connected to behavior.  But while I have been dismissive of reductive truths throughout this series, I do have a point of view, and I thought it might be helpful to share some of the principles that I have found to be most effective in developing a new culture.

“The trick is to think of each statement as a starting point, as a prompt toward deeper inquiry, and not as a conclusion.”

  • Give a good idea to a mediocre team, and they will screw it up.  Give a mediocre idea to a great team, and they will either fix it or come up with something better.  If you get the team right, chances are that they’ll get the ideas right.
  • If there are people in your organization who feel they are not free to suggest ideas, you lose.  Do not discount that ideas come from anywhere in the organization.
  • It isn’t enough merely to be open to ideas from others.  Engaging the collective brainpower of the people you work with is an active, ongoing process.  As a manager, you must coax your staff and constantly push them to contribute.
  • Do not fall for the illusion that by preventing errors, you won’t have errors to fix.  The truth is, the cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them.
  • Change and uncertainty are part of life.  Our job is not to resist them but to build the capability to recover when unexpected events occur.  If you don’t alway try to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill prepared to lead.
  • Similarly, it is not the manager’s job to prevent risk.  It is the manager’s job to make it safe to take them.
  • Failure isn’t a necessary evil.  In fact, it isn’t evil at all.  It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.
  • The people ultimately responsible for implementing a plan must be empowered to make decisions when things go wrong, even before getting approval.  Finding and fixing problems is everybody’s job.  Anyone should be able to stop the production line.
  • A company’s communication structure should not mirror its organizational structure.  Everybody should be able to talk to anybody.
  • An organization, as a whole, is more conservative and resistant to change than the individuals who comprise it.  Do not assume that general agreement will lead to change – it take substantial energy to move a group, even when all are on board.
  • Do not confuse the process with the goal.  Working on our processes to make them better, easier, and more efficient is an indispensable activity and something we should continually work on – but it is not the goal.  Making the product great is the goal.

The path to a data driven company is one that is achieved through the balance of technology and culture.  The “dark data” that your organization has accumulated over the years is where we have focused our attention.  Illuminating that data and making it useable for your people to make decisions is the goal that comes from building a culture of trust and shared consciousness.

If you would like to learn more about how InCloud Control has helped other companies on this journey please feel free to send us a note at: or call us at (404) 316-0082