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Changing to a Data-Driven Culture

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

As many companies attempt to take advantage of the availability of data, they tend to run into one age-old problem: culture.

While formal edicts and new software may be needed to make use of business intelligence, we have to remember that culture is essentially defined as how things are done.  Therefore, you have to address culture if you want to do things differently.

Here are five tips that may help make the process a bit easier:

1. Use a process that's data driven

It's important to take some time to gather information on why this change is needed. Gather data on how this change will affect the organization as a whole, as well as all the levels and groups in the organization. How will it help them? What will they need to do, and what challenges might they face? 

2. Present your findings back to the groups

Format the data in a way that will allow each group to appreciate it. Remember that you'll be presenting to everyone from executives to the front lines, so your message is going to have to resonate across several different groups. Once presented, give the groups time to analyze, discuss, and provide feedback on the data.

3. Avoid Change Fatigue

Too many changes happening at the same time without prioritization will cause the inevitable rolling of the eyes. Make sure you're not presenting this culture change while another major change is occurring and competing for your organization’s resources. It's important to take the necessary time to properly design the change process, and it's even more important to take time to properly communicate the change to those within your organization.

4. Communication vs. Engagement

Both are critical, but you need to understand the difference between the two. Communication is information, while engagement is involvement. Too often we communicate the change, but we don’t engage those who are going to be affected or are needed to make it happen. Have your people be a part of the change, instead of just informing them that it's happening. 

5. Manage the formal and the Informal

Lean on existing strengths within the organization. Get buy in from the influencers within your organization, and remember that those people don’t always have fancy titles, yet they are the ones who people trust and follow. Ensure coherence by avoiding mixed messages, especially from executives and management. Get an understanding of the “Human Side," and deal with actual feelings by having a realistic understanding of the organization’s history, readiness, and capacity.


If you're attempting to direct your organization into a culture that's driven by data, it's important to keep these five tips in mind to ensure a seamless transition.

Get your organization on board with the change by effectively communicating why it's necessary, and how it's going to directly impact the company and its employees. 

Always remember that communication is key -- even when it comes to data and numbers. 

Judesther Marc

Written by Judesther Marc

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