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Why Business Leaders Must Prioritize Building a Data-Driven Culture

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  • Pragmatic Institute is the transformational partner for today’s businesses, providing immediate impact through actionable and practical training for product, design and data teams. Our courses are taught by industry experts with decades of hands-on experience, and include a complete ecosystem of training, resources and community. This focus on dynamic instruction and continued learning has delivered impactful education to over 200,000 alumni worldwide over the last 30 years.

Colleagues Working Together to Analyze the Data

Businesses understand the potential of data, analytics, and AI to generate insights that shape more profitable decisions. 

Although businesses around the globe are recognizing the potential to unlock new value from data-driven decisions, there is still an obstacle impeding success: cultivating a culture that recognizes and appreciates analytical capabilities. 

In a data-driven culture, rather than relying on leadership intuition and experience, data-driven decision-making is utilized to improve competitive advantage. However, most companies have had difficulties becoming data-driven cultures like digital natives such as Google and Amazon, who have built strong cultures that embrace the power of data analytics

With the right strategies, even non-digital native organizations can become prime examples of successful data culture transformation. 

 

How Badly Are Companies Struggling with Becoming Data-Driven? 

Most companies are still struggling to become more focused on data-driven decision-making. Harvard Business Review shared the following statistics about the adoption of a data-driven culture:

  • Recent Deloitte survey of U.S. executives found that most – 63% – do not believe their companies are analytics-driven.
  • 67% of respondents say they are not comfortable accessing or using data from their tools and resources. 
  • A NewVantage Partners survey of large U.S. firms found that only 31% of companies say they are data-driven, a figure that has declined from previous years.  
  • Over 70% of businesses reported that the adoption of big data and AI initiatives remains a major challenge. 

 

Why Make the Switch to a Data-Driven Culture? 

There are several reasons why building a data-driven culture in your organization is important, let’s review the top three. 

1. Data Increases Objectivity in Decision-Making

Data provides an objective basis for decision-making. This is particularly important in situations where there is a lot at stake and emotions can run high. When decisions are based on data rather than on gut feeling or intuition, they are more likely to be successful. 

2. Data-Driven Cultures Are Continually Learning

A data-driven culture encourages continuous learning. This is because decisions are based on what the data says rather than on assumptions or preconceptions. As new data becomes available, it can be used to adjust and improve decision-making. This leads to a virtuous circle in which the organization gets better at making decisions over time. It also creates a culture that is okay with an iterative approach, builds off of mistakes, and prioritizes innovation. 

3. Data-Driven Cultures Promote Accountability 

Having a data-driven culture fosters transparency and accountability. This is because all decisions are made openly and transparently, using data that is available to everyone in the organization. This makes it easy to hold people accountable for their decisions and learn from their mistakes. 

Data goes beyond driving decisions, standing up new products, or reimagining processes because while those may be the desired end result, data can only be fully leveraged when it’s ingrained into a company’s culture. 

 

Characteristics of a Data-Driven Company

A data-driven culture treats data as a strategic asset for the whole company, not just the property of a particular department or function. It uses data to guide decisions, not justify them after they have already been made. It’s a curious culture, always seeking the truth. 

Additionally, it’s a culture that believes in experimentation, to try and test out new ideas, and letting data guide whether to double down on them or cut debate. It’s a culture of empowerment where frontline action using data is not only encouraged, it’s actually expected. 

How do you distinguish a company with a genuine data culture from one without? Typically, companies that have a data-driven culture are characterized by the following:

  • A deep commitment to using data in decision-making. 
  • A clear understanding of how data can be used to improve operations and decision-making processes. 
  • Accessibility to reliable and up-to-date data across departments and levels in the organization.

Creating a data-driven culture requires careful planning, it’s not something that can be done overnight. Organizations need to create a plan and implement the right processes, tools, and strategies to succeed. 

 

The Role Leaders Can Play in Building a Data-Driven Culture

Leaders play a critical role in building a data-driven culture. 

They need to set the tone and show that data is an important part of decision-making. This means they should be open to using data, talking about it openly and frequently, and encouraging others to do the same. 

Leaders also need to ensure that data is accessible and available to everyone in the company. They should invest in data infrastructure and prioritize employee training on how to use data effectively. Leaders should also create a culture of experimentation, where everyone feels comfortable trying out new things with the guidance of data rather than relying solely on gut instincts. 

Finally, leaders should be willing to take risks and make decisions based on data. People are often hesitant to do this because of the fear of failure or criticism. But it’s important for leaders to show that data-based decision-making is worthwhile, even if mistakes are made along the way. 

[Do you know where your organization falls in the data maturity continuum? >>Click here to find out]

 

Conclusion 

By creating a data-driven culture, organizations can ensure they have access to reliable and up-to-date data, their decision-making process is backed by evidence, and they’re continuously learning from new information. 

Leaders play an important role in driving this cultural shift, so it’s important for them to prioritize data-driven decision-making and cultivate a culture of learning. When done well, this can lead to improved performance and increased accountability in the organization. 

By investing in a data culture, business leaders can ensure their organizations remain competitive and continue to grow. 

 

Leverage Data for Business Decisions 

Data Science for Business Leaders is designed for business leaders to partner with data professionals, learn what problems to solve with data, and how to leverage the findings to make better decisions. 

  • Focus on data projects that drive business impact 
  • Gain better outcomes through stronger partnerships 
  • Identify the fastest path to actionable insights 
  • Champion data-driven decision making 

>> Learn More

Author

  • Pragmatic Institute is the transformational partner for today’s businesses, providing immediate impact through actionable and practical training for product, design and data teams. Our courses are taught by industry experts with decades of hands-on experience, and include a complete ecosystem of training, resources and community. This focus on dynamic instruction and continued learning has delivered impactful education to over 200,000 alumni worldwide over the last 30 years.

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