Big People Before Big Data

When you look at your business and your clients’ performance do the line managers know and ask the right questions more consistently and constantly than 12 months ago? Do you hold your management and employees to account, reward them irrespective of the result (right behaviours), promote them, and where appropriate, support them with additional training and development opportunities? Are your leaders exemplars? Does this have a similar or greater level of fanfare (internal and external promotion) than the results that arise from applying valuable data or technology to your client’s needs (new client successes, new products, new relationships etc.)?

In the hype about “Big Data” and the power of analytics to transform society, economies and businesses you won’t get useful information if you ask the wrong questions. First that requires that you have talented people able to apply knowledge wisely to organisational issues in conformance with the strategic direction of the business. Greg Case, CEO of the global insurance brokerage powerhouse, Aon, recently made the point that “work loss” (data) is what changes their clients’ behaviour. Changes to that behaviour must impact performance (operational performance, balance sheet strength, reduction of volatility). Yet one of his lieutenants admitted to me recently if the quality of their client’s management and people (skills and volition) is “low”, and/or the Client’s organisation is more uncertain than not about its’ future and environment, the finest data driven insights are likely to have close to zero impact on key business metrics. How long before the next hot trend is “Big People and Analytics”? Leaders appraised for their skills and passion to willingly lead implementation initiatives. Line managers hired in (or developed) with the right strategic implementation skills  and the wherewithal to balance both the short- and long-term health and well-being of their customers, employees, shareholders, business partners and so on in their daily interactions.

© James Berkeley 2014. All Rights Reserved.


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