helping you master customer insight leadership

The need for analysts to have improved commercial awareness

Commercial Awareness

I have mentioned before that analysts benefit from stronger commercial awareness. But what do I mean by this term?

The easiest way to explain is to set it in context. A lack of commercial awareness is normally shown when an analyst presents their findings. The impression they leave with internal customers is that they are commercial naive & irrelevant.

I’ve written before that this too often happens to otherwise very technically capable analysts. Their work may be based on high quality, well prepared data. Their analysts may be statistically robust & perhaps even presenting using engaging data visualisation.


The case for more Specialists as your Data Science team grows


Following on from the potentially controversial topics that I suggested, I will make the case for more specialists.

You may recall that the first topic I offered was based on a post from Vincent Granville. In that post, he proposed that there was a need for more Data Science Generalists & less focus on Specialists.

He makes a good case and I am cautious to disagree with such a thought leader. But I think it is worth making the counter case for why more specialist roles help, especially as your team grows. I began making part of this case when arguing for Business Partner roles.


Agile working in practice, more tips to help Analytics teams transition

Agile working in practice

Continuing our series reviewing how data, analytics and insight teams can achieve Agile Working in practice.

In my first post on how to achieve Agile Working in practice, I focussed on four principles that were needed. Principles of attitude and culture, in order to have the right mindset and approach to working this way.

Continuing with this series has been driven by the feedback I have heard from a variety of data & analytics leaders. Those working in business today are telling me that this challenge is still very much a work in progress. Senior leaders want a more agile business, but it’s not a quick fix to achieve.


Agile working for Analytics teams needs a cu​lture change

agile working

The term Agile Working is being used within more & more businesses. Although loosely defined, it generally refers to a more flexible and pacey way of working. In this series, I share what this means for data, analytics & insight teams who need to work this way.

Those businesses who have invested in formal training will likely be following one of the 5 most popular methodologies. Although sounding very professional, in reality, the application of Agile to non-IT teams is still in its infancy.

The top 5 Agile development methodologies are generally agreed to be:


It’s the most wonderful time of the year, to review your story

review your story

Is this the time of year when you review your story? Perhaps you expected me to say appraise your performance, or review your goals?

Under traditional performance management systems, end-of-year can be full of interpreting metrics. How can you present your performance this year in the most favourable light?

But I wasn’t talking about ‘spin‘, rather a different kind of review. Over recent years, my leadership coaching practice & CPD has taught me a great deal. Specialisms like Gestalt Coaching and Narrative Coaching have given me a fresh perspective. (more…)

Don’t neglect the political dimension of applying analytics or insight

political dimension

To complement recent advice from our guest bloggers, let’s consider the political dimension of applying analytics in business.

Annette & Peter have shared useful tips on applying analytics for both CX & Marketing. However, unlike the classroom, advancing such use of analytics in business always involves politics.

Over the years, as well as protecting technical stars from performance management systems, I have often had to mentor them on politics. There can be a tendency for analysts to be idealistic & naive when it comes to the political dimension of office life. (more…)