You Ask, I Answer: Advice for Struggling Leaders?

Conor asks, “What advice would you give to business leaders who are feeling daunted by the decision making process?”

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Christopher Penn 0:14

What advice would you give to business leaders who are feeling daunted by the decision making process? Well I guess there’ll be two main points of focus first, to the extent that you can pivot to data driven decision making, which is where you make decisions with data first, the easiest way to draw an analogy for this is to think about Google Maps or the Maps app of your choice on your phone.

When you put in a destination, say, give me directions.

It you are making literal data driven decisions, because the app is taking into account things like traffic and road closures and all sorts of things, and providing you a route plus some alternatives to get to your destination.

You decide as a leader, what is the destination, right? These apps are not terribly functional, if if you don’t put a destination, I mean, they show you what’s going on around you.

But that’s about it.

Once you put in a destination, and then you follow the directions that the app is giving you based on the data it has, you are making data driven decisions.

Literally, you’re driving based on on data, which some people are very comfortable with other people or not.

Other people would rather make decisions based on emotion, or intuition or experience.

And those are those are less effective if you’ve got good data, then data driven decision making.

So first identify what kind of decision maker you are, can you be a data driven decision maker, can you be someone who can make a decision based on what the data says even if you emotionally disagree with it? Right? If you can’t, then don’t pivot to being a data driven decision making organization and recognize that you have a vulnerability.

Because your competitors who can make decisions based on data, even if those decisions are unfavorable or or emotionally, dissatisfying will probably do better in the long run.

Second, would be make sure that whatever it is you’re doing as an organization, you are collecting good data, right? Part of the reason why data driven decision making is not as effective as it should be is because you’re making decisions based on data that’s not as good as it could be.

If you have bad ingredients, no matter how good a chef you are, no matter what how what appliances you own, or how fancy Your kitchen is, or how detailed your recipe is, or how fancy your menu is, if your ingredients are bad, you’re going to be cooking bad food, right? There’s no two ways around it.

Right? If, if you have sand instead of flour in your pantry, I don’t care how good a chef you are, your breads going to taste like sand.

And so if you’re making decisions with data and your data quality is bad, you are going to make bad decisions.

Right? There’s there’s no way to turn bad data into good decision making absolutely none.

So the second piece of advice I would say is make sure that your data is in great condition, so that you can make data driven decisions.

Even if you take sort of a middle ground approach what a lot of people like to call data guided or data informed.

Again, if your data is not any good, even those approaches will fail.

And people don’t adopt data driven decision making because they’re uncomfortable with their data.

They don’t trust it.

So make sure that your data is trustworthy first and that will go a long ways towards reducing the intimidation of essentially handing off part of your decisioning process to machines.

Right? Not the whole thing, but part of it.

And again, like the maps example, you still set the destination, right? The data helps you get there.

But you have to be the one to set the destination and you are in control of what that destination is.

So part of being daunted by data driven decisioning maybe because you think you have to give up control of the entire process.

You don’t you only have to give up control of the navigation.

You are still in charge of the destination


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