Talented People

Does your organization attract talented people ?

Does your organization put its people’s talents to work ?

Do talented people get more talented when they work in your organization ?

Do all the people in your organization get to exercise their talents when they work ?

Is your organization glad to see its talented people move on to other organizations that will value and reward them ?

Does working with your organization bring out the talents of the people in other organizations ?

Does your organization support its talented people when they chose to go back to the “beginner” stage and acquire new talents?

HI, the fuel that makes AI run

hi2The need to improve your organization’s data culture is driven by the powerful new tools for data that are becoming available and the new strategies that they make possible.

In the frenzy over powerful new tools it’s good not to forget the most powerful “intelligence” tool that your organization possesses, its “Human Intelligence”. An organization’s Human Intelligence is determined by its skills, training and ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Such an ability is grounded on its member’s enthusiasm, trust and willingness to trust.

Tools cannot be used effectively unless they are grounded in the organization’s human intelligence. Sometimes, without the proper training, experience and enthusiasm to come to grips with a tool the tool can actually do harm to the organization.

Each time you introduce a new tool you should take the opportunity to review, rebuild and strengthen your organization’s human resources so that you can take full advantage of the tool’s capacities.

The Low Barrier to Entry

The most interesting result of Sodexo’s widespread adoption of QuickBase is not just the productivity boost but the increase in innovation, Bryant says.

“QuickBase is a low barrier to entry to try new things,” she said. “Experiments are not always successful so people can be reluctant to try if they know a failure will be costly.” —QuickBase Pushes Low-Code into the Enterprise

With a strong data culture the organization can trust employees to try new things, and when they work, to take full advantage of them. When they don’t work the employee is not blamed or punished, but encouraged to try again.


Data Quality Training: A Success Story

In one organization, I worked with a team of data entry workers who lacked motivation and interest in data, to them it was a boring, menial task.

We introduced data quality training and they devoured every course. They soon became data ambassadors and custodians, proud of their new found status. League stats were created to show how good our data was becoming and a sense of pride filled the team.

Simply by injecting a little bit of knowledge into the team caused huge changes to behavior and perception of data.

All the technology in the world can’t change a data culture, it has to be nurtured organically. If you really want to create world-class data, you need a world-class data culture.– from “How to Improve Your Data Culture“, Rossyln Analytics

“Einstein is coming”

But Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff says that AI is … really the next big thing after mobile and social changed the tech world over the past five years.

Smart computers that can think, talk, reason, and predict will be able to do more than just search Google for us or order a pizza. They will eventually do stuff we haven’t even imagined yet.

Benioff, talking to analysts during Salesforce’s quarterly conference call, called this the “AI-first world.”  –“Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff just made a bold prediction about the future of tech” in Business Insider

Salesforce is planning to add an AI component (called “Einstein”) to all of its platforms. Find out more here. Making use of such advanced data handling will require a data culture that is strong and robust and than can support its members in gaining new skills and insights.

We are going to see cars that “drive themselves” much sooner than anyone would have imagined. We will also see organizations that can “drive themselves” and make use of their ability to understand their environments and use data to drive their processes.

You may not be planning to use AI in your organization but you should be planning to strengthen your organization’s data culture to the point where you will be able to use it when you need it.

Start by establishing a basic training program and working to get everyone on board.

Think Like Google

Think like Google: Produce a simple concept or idea as a beta, release it, and let users test it and give feedback. Then study the user responses and adapt the capabilities as you go. This kind of logic allows for a quick product release, less development dollars up front, and the opportunity to design the product based on consumer feedback. These initiatives yield successful results. It’s better to prototype a data product that is ready to put in front of a user in six weeks instead of six months. This allows you to keep it simple and make adjustments quickly based on what’s working and what’s not —“Putting People First in your Big Data Initiative” by Juice Analytics

This is the data-centered approach to change. Make your changes in small steps. Project what results you expect from each step. Test before and after the steps to check on your progress. If a step does not produce measurable results, modify your plan.

“Consumer feedback” is just one way of measuring the results of your changes. Most steps you take should also make some other impacts that you can measure. Making a data entry form simpler and easier to use should result in good consumer feedback, but it should also have other effects: fewer incomplete forms, fewer errors in filling out the form…etc. Often trying to figure out how you will measure the effects of the changes you are planning will give you new insights into just what you want to do, and how you should try to do it.


The ABC’s of data driven culture adoption.

Here are the ABCs of data driven culture adoption: Acknowledge the Current Culture: You are unlikely to have a lot of success changing mindsets by throwing the current culture under the bus. First, acknowledge the strengths of the current culture and how they are a building block for where the organization wants to go. Put away the laundry list of aspirational culture traits and begin with what you have today. You can’t suddenly change culture, but you can evolve it over time. Focus on the bright spots that exist and discuss what one step forward would mean for the organization. Baby Step Behaviors: You need to pick prevalent behaviors in the current culture and selectively pick a few to move forward. Focus on behavior changes that are observable, actionable, repeatable, and measurable. Do not attempt to move the entire organization all at once. Start by engaging staff members that are known to be early adopters; that person who always has the latest gadget or someone who volunteers to try something new can help beta test these behavior changes. Mix in others who are well-networked within the organization. When other people see them changing, there will be a ripple effect across the organization. You also need to include at least one person with a reputation for resistance to change. Involve them in the process and support them in making just a few important behavior changes. Support them and acknowledge the changes they are making to others. When behaviors change, mindsets will follow. Culture Aligns with Strategy: You will have a lot more success if the culture of the organization is aligned with the strategy. Proclaiming that the organization needs to be more innovative or must achieve certain goals is a recipe for disaster if the culture is not a fit. A culture of testing will fit with a strategy to improve results through more experimentation. A culture of growth will align with a strategy that emphasizes measurable improvements as part of program and individual evaluations.–“Data Driven Nonprofits” by Steve MacLaughlin

  1. Acknowledge the Current Culture: The most important people to acknowledge are the doubters and the nay-sayers.
  2. Baby Step Behaviors: These need to be both doable and testable.
  3. Culture Aligns with Strategy: The most important thing here is to figure out what kind of culture(s) your organization has.

“Whats culture got to do with it?”

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” –Peter Drucker


Plans have to be executed. The minute an organization starts to execute a plan things will start to go wrong (or go right when the plan things they should go wrong).

The organization’s ability to adapt to the difficulties that happen when the plan is executed is central to its ability to execute any plan. An organization’s culture is what gives it the ability to overcome such unexpected events.

Think tortoise and the hare. Given the choice between having an organization with truly brilliant strategies, but with such a poor culture that it is unable to execute them and an organization with average (or even poor) strategies, but with the ability to execute them, most people would go for the later.

To make matters worse (or better, depending on how you look at it) part of a strong culture is being able to learn from its mistakes. One characteristic of a weak culture is that its ability to learn is also weak, so it keeps making the same mistakes over and over again.

To start thinking about your organization’s culture (in particular its data culture) you can take the Basic Diagnostic. Seven simple questions will give you some perspective on your organization’s attitude towards its data.