conversation about maximising value from customer insight

Are your Analytics teams growing & sharing through internal events?

internal eventsFollowing Tony’s critique of mega-conference events, I was fortunate enough this week to join a client, at one of their internal events.

It was a ‘Data & Analytics Seminar’, focused on increasing knowledge and sharing best practice. Attendees came mainly from Analytics or BI roles, but included a range of experience and technical verses business focus.

There was so much to praise about this event. Held in a modern, innovation centre (think Google-esque environment), it was relaxed, interactive and included a good mixed diet. On the agenda were internal & external speakers, as well as content that ranged from very technical to strategic or people-focussed.

So, to encourage all Analytics leaders to take a leaf out of their book, without breaching any confidences, let me share my reflections. (more…)

Your biggest achievements just might come from self-awareness

self-awarenessContinuing our focus on your thinking environments & personal development, let’s turn to the topic of self-awareness.

Not just in my own coaching & mentoring work, but also in my own experience of practicing mindfulness, time and again I have seen the power of improved self-awareness. Yet, especially without a coach or mentor to work with, many leaders struggle to know where to start.

Too much of our working lives can seem to drift past in a kind of fog of “shallow work“, as Cal Newport describes it.

So, I’m pleased to welcome back experienced coach & fellow blogger, Kevin Watson. In this guest blog post, Kevin shares a simple exercise he uses to help leaders get to know themselves better… (more…)

Do mega conferences really help your CPD, even in Vegas?

mega conferencesAs we have focussed on knowledge management, thinking environments & personal development this month, it makes sense to consider the role of conferences.

Working as a professional speaker or chair, especially for Customer Insight or Analytics related events, you will have seen a number of conferences feature in Events section of this blog.

But, none of us should give up precious time to attend these, if they don’t help us develop.

Even when they are in glittering locations like Barcelona or Vegas, it pays to consider your learning goals & why this event helps (or not).

So, to provide a more critical eye on the role of mega conferences in your personal development, I’m delighted to welcome back guest blogger Tony Boobier. I’m tempted to jest that he may have some secret that “stays in Vegas“, but over to Tony to lay out his case… (more…)

What topics should CPD, for Customer Insight leaders, cover?

CPDA few different parts, of my practice, periodically remind me about Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

As a leadership coach, the co-coaching events or workshops I attend, are counted towards CPD credits for my Association for Coaching membership. As an Institute of Direct & Digital Marketing member & marker, I also get annual reminders to register any personal development activities over the year. Plus, I am regularly mailed by the Institute of Directors, with suggested courses, qualifications or other resources to sustain my CPD.

Awash with all this potential content, it is easy to lose track of what really matters. CPD schemes can have the danger of encouraging volume or frequency rather than relevance. Any leader should ask themselves: What do I need to develop further for my current role or future challenges? What is most relevant to me at this stage? (more…)

Developing that vital Domain Knowledge in your analysts

domain knowledgeHow do you develop domain knowledge in your analysts, so their data usage, interpretation & recommendations make sense?

I’ve mentioned in a previous post, about the difficulties of offshoring analytics, how vital domain knowledge can be. Yet, I find most articles or speakers focus on your need to develop new technology skills (like mastering the latest ‘en vogue‘ coding language).

Akin to the greater importance of softer skills in analysts, as outlined previously, my own experience is that domain knowledge makes a greater difference to analyst effectiveness.

So, as my contribution to redressing that imbalance, here are some thoughts on domain knowledge. Why it matters & how best to help your analysts learn about their domain. (more…)

Are you reinventing the wheel, every time you undertake analysis?

reinventing the wheelOnce your analysts have a clear business question to answer, do they start new analysis each time, potentially ‘reinventing the wheel‘?

After creating or leading data & analytics teams for many years, I began to notice this pattern of behaviour. What we seemed to lack was a consistent knowledge management solution or ‘corporate memory‘ that could easily spot what should be remembered.

Funnily enough, as became convinced of the need for ‘holistic customer insight‘, I found a partial answer amongst researchers.

Research teams are somewhat better at this, as it has become a more standard part of their methods.

I’ve yet to find an ideal solution, but I think it’s such an important issue for analytics & insight teams, that I’ll use this post to share my own experience. (more…)

The importance of place, why internal environments matter

environmentsIn recent years, I’ve spent a lot more of my time speaking at events, or training my clients, so have recognised the crucial role of internal environments. Having the right place for such activity can make a tremendous difference to the effectiveness of any talk, training course or coaching/mentoring session.

Working on a couple of events with a friend of mine, William Buist, we got talking about the impact that the environment had on those breakfast briefings.

The thoughts that William shared afterwards, with the event organiser & myself, struck me as useful for all leaders to consider. So, I’m delighted to share a guest post from William on the theme of ‘the importance of place‘ & how it can impact our ability to think in different ways. (more…)