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How to adopt data-driven strategies

The real drive behind data isn’t the data itself, but the mindset and behavior behind its application.

Data-driven work isn’t solely about numbers, spreadsheets, or software. At its core, it’s about the word “driven.” What propels you to engage with data? While data serves as the tool, the underlying motivation significantly influences your work, dictating the outcomes you achieve. This post dives into this dynamic and emphasizes the importance of fostering the right culture.

The defintion of data-driven work

So, what does data-driven work mean? It translates to “making decisions based on empirical evidence rather than mere beliefs.” This approach requires a level of humility, vulnerability, and the readiness to challenge long-standing assumptions.

What is your attitude towards data?

Your attitude towards data depends on motivation, context, and conventional problem-solving methods. There’s a risk of not truly embracing a data-driven approach even when data is available unless you:

  • Convert opinions into hypotheses tested against data.

  • Overcome fear of your beliefs being proven wrong.

  • Invest resources in the validation process.

  • Ensure that hierarchy doesn’t dictate truth.

  • Face potentially unsettling revelations from the data.

Might sound exhausting, right? After all, isn’t it more comforting to rely on gut feelings or beliefs? However, interpreting data is subjective, influenced by factors such as data selection.

Data-informed culture

Balancing human intuition with data analysis is vital. A more apt term might be “data-informed” culture, which integrates human elements. Experience, expertise, and empathy play pivotal roles in hypothesis formation, data interpretation, or final decision-making, depending on the challenge at hand.

Accept the learning curve

In every scenario, one must be ready for a learning curve with data, where vulnerability remains a key ingredient for success. Beyond this, the skills, systems, technologies, and processes need to be in place to access the data. Often, this is where most begin. But what if you started by understanding what drives you or your team to work with or without data?


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