The Data-Driven Decision Maker

Some global leaders credit a hunch, others cite an epiphany on the road to achieving another goal. Still others point to guts, character, intestinal fortitude or even a sense of desperation for leading them to some of the best decisions of their careers, however each of us can also recall those times when a mountain of evidence and the most careful calculated analysis led us down the path to those decisions we’d rather forget.

The stuff of stellar executives careers is manufactured by making more of the former and fewer of the latter, recognising always that bigger-picture market conditions can accelerate or derail even the brightest of ideas and big decisions.

Today, the pace of technological change continues to multiply. Consumer trends drive so much of the global economy and companies ranging from the largest global corporations to the smallest entrepreneurial startups have a dizzying array of resources at their disposal to inform how they should position themselves for maximum profit.

Those who can gear-up on how their markets are changing as they globalise and who can find the opportunities faster or more clearly than their competitors will likely deliver the best results.

Yet there is also a danger in relying too much on the terabytes of data that can easily overwhelm the global leader’s most strategic decision-making process.

The key for global leaders today is to raise their understanding of how their business units are capturing data and what they’re learning from it. It is to build a senior executive team with specialists who can dive deep into the data and adjust the findings against what they’re actually seeing in key customer segments, advise on the implications and trade-offs of continued investment.

Today’s strategic decision maker is becoming a far more data-driven leader, but that doesn’t mean one can abandon all the things he or she has summoned in the past to help find the best way forward for their enterprise.

Better data can certainly clarify what’s happening on the outside. Data can provide an additional level of confidence, especially if a global leader’s other decision metrics are already leaning in the same direction. Data can help that leader demonstrate a commitment to learn and interpret before constructing a plan to implement important action steps.

Much in the same way technology is becoming a bigger part of our lives, the science of data analytics is ratcheting higher up on the global leader’s list of desired, if not required leadership competencies.

New data-driven insights can be revealing, but they can ring hollow if they provide the only base from which to make the most critical decisions.

Seeing things more clearly can help us assess what matters on the outside, but it’s still vital to know what matters most and how our decisions and decision-making process define us on the inside.

 

Copyright © TRANSEARCH International 2015

 

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