helping you master customer insight leadership

Loving your team, how can you do that as a leader?

Loving your teamOn this most romantic of days, have your thoughts turned to how you could express loving your team?

Happy Valentine’s Day to all our readers (or Ash Wednesday, if you’re more focussed on the start of Lent). However you celebrate today, I hope you can enjoy it & also have time to reflect.

Please don’t misunderstand the title of this post, I am not talking about romantic engagement with your team. In these days of greater awareness, about the importance of consent & power dynamics, I’d caution against such an involvement.

Rather, I mean how could you better express love, or appreciation, to your team?

Despite not focussing on romantic relationships, I think there are lessons we can learn from them. Almost 33 years of married life have certainly taught me some lessons. I’m blessed to be married to a wonderful person, but what have I learned along the way? (more…)

Setting specific goals, as an Insight Leader, for 2018

specific goalsHappy New Year, it’s time to decide what your annual specific goals will be.

For the last couple of years, I’ve shared a post recommending a system for setting goals & achieving them. However, a few conversations with insight leaders have reminded me that advice remains generic. What about which goals to set?

As this blog aims to support Customer Insight Leaders, I want to also offer more specific advice.

Given the context of common challenges & potential future trends, which goals would I advise? Well, far be it from me to second guess your priorities & specific context, but I hope these thoughts help. They are intended to simply act as a checklist; to prompt your own thinking. (more…)

Why you should stop buying consultancy (at least by itself)

consultancyWhen should you use external consultancy? Are you wisely bringing in wider expertise, or wasting your money on people who won’t be around to see the consequences?

Such a question plagues many analytics or insight leaders. Indeed I have spoken to many, over the years, who are frustrated by the speed with which directors turn to consultants.

I’ve mentioned before the need to build the reputation of your team, to mitigate the risk, of external voices being listened to instead.

But, in this post, I want to turn to the topic of consultancy itself. I’m sharing these thoughts with a foot in both camps. I have decades of experience as a senior leader within a FTSE100 business. In that role, I have seen external consultants both add value & be a waste of money. (more…)

In praise of imperfection, for analysts to achieve success

imperfectionAmongst their many positive qualities, analysts can often be perfectionists, unwilling to settle for imperfection.

A quest for excellence and an attention to detail can be admirable qualities. Together with a restless curiosity, such attitudes can characterise a natural analyst.

But, as all perfectionists will discover, seeking perfection in your work can more often hinder than help.

So, given all the hype on social media about technological perfection, let me offer an antidote.

In this post, I’m going to speak up in favour of imperfection. Sharing 4 examples of where accepting imperfect solutions is key to making progress. (more…)

Stakeholder Segmentation: Why you need one and video personas

Stakeholder SegmentationDo you have a stakeholder segmentation? Had you even considered the need for one?

Perhaps you think segmentations are just for customers or other parties external to your business. Does creating one for your key stakeholders sound like ‘over engineering‘?

I’ve heard that response before. Yet, in this post I’ll make the case for how a stakeholder segmentation can help. I’ll also provide an example of one option, a simple segmentation designed for this purpose.

If you’ve already read and applied the advice in our earlier post on Stakeholder Mapping, this is a good next step. You are hopefully in the position of having a prioritised list of ‘key player‘ stakeholders. Those you want to manage carefully. Your next challenge is they are not all the same. (more…)

How to create a Stakeholder Map and why you need one

Stakeholder MapDo you have a stakeholder map? Is it up-to-date and do you use it?

Those questions frequently come up when I’m working with clients. In either training or coaching, the need to ‘know your stakeholders‘ is a common one.

It’s not surprising that it matters. Today’s businesses are more complex than ever. Plus, it’s not enough for insight or analytics leaders to generate insights, they need to be able to act on them. Few, if any, of today’s leaders can do that in isolation.

Whether you need to partner with IT, Sales, Marketing or Operations, you will need to cooperate. The challenge, of course, is that other people have their own priorities, challenges & values. These may not accord with yours, or may at least make your intended action less important now.

This month, we will be focussing on a range of tips for better stakeholder management. Today, we start with how to create a stakeholder map. (more…)

The most important skills for Data Scientists in businesses

most important skillsWhich are the most important skills, needed by analysts or data scientists?

It’s an interesting question to ponder. It is tempting to fall back on technical basics, like statistical knowledge & software or coding skills. But most graduate data scientists or experienced analysts will be screened for those at recruitment.

So, if you are leading an Analytics, Data Science or Insight team, where should you invest?

My mind was prompted to consider these questions by two posts on LinkedIn. So, let me share those discussions and challenges with you. Then, as well as agreeing with the need for more UK research, I’ll share my suggestions.

Thanks for Martin Squires and Beau Walker for interesting posts to start my rumination. (more…)