How to Get the Most Out of Your Data

27.04.2017 |

Episode #9 of the course How to create a data-driven culture by Jon Leighton


In this lesson, I’ll advise on what a data-driven culture doesn’t look like—such as being stuck in the past or overwhelmed by too much data—and how to overcome these issues to start using your data properly.

As we said in the first lesson, a data-driven culture requires the right tools, data, and mindset. By now, you should have the right tools and the right data, and by getting the team involved, you’ve made a start on the right mindset.

Of course central to any data-driven culture is the data itself, but too many people overlook that third element—the mindset. Having only one person making data-driven decisions is not helpful if all other decisions aren’t.

Consider today’s lesson as a Part 2 to Lesson 6, where we discussed how to get the team more involved.

Aside from encouraging them to collaborate, using data to back up opinions, and being aware of the company KPIs, you also need to make sure that everyone is data-literate.

Asking your team to be more data-driven will not work if your team is unable to understand what it is they’re looking at or where to find it.

Invest some time and, if you can, money in making sure everyone is up to scratch on how to use the tools you’re using to collect and analyze. It doesn’t need to be as complicated as teaching SQL.

While you’ll have your spreadsheet or tool that collects all your important KPIs, you should give team members the knowledge to be able to dig further when needed. A simple workshop running through Google Analytics and how to use it may be all you need.

Look at the data you’re working with and tailor the training to suit it. Not everyone needs to be a data scientist, but having a basic understanding of what it is, why you’re using it, and how to use it is essential.

The mindset aspect of a data-driven culture is also about changing the way you work with data.

Most businesses create monthly reports, but there are two big problems with this:

1. Most businesses create it, read through it, and leave it there
2. The businesses that do use it are reacting to events that happened weeks ago

To be truly data-driven, you need to be proactive instead of reactive.

For me, from my spreadsheet of KPIs, I choose one that I feel is the most important to the work that I’m doing at that time. Then first thing every morning, I check that KPI, note where I stand against my target, and if I’m not on track, I take some time to dig into the data and figure out why.

You don’t need to do this for every KPI, and depending what each member of your team is working on, they might have a different KPI than you.

In doing this, you quickly build data into your daily routine and start making proactive decisions. For example, when sales are where you expect them one day, you decide to focus that day on creating and running a new promotion to boost sales.

Having all the data in the world does not make one data-driven. You need the processes that you build into your business and your approach to data. Keep your team involved as much as you can and create the right KPIs and you’re on your way to becoming more empowered with data.

Next: We’ll take a look back at everything we’ve learned with some key takeaways.



Recommended book

Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data by Charles Wheelan


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