In what context can data projects succeed?

For a data project to really take off, a culture of empowerment and accountability must exist within your organization.

More organizations are starting with data projects, or have to conclude their data projects are not delivering the results they should. There is a huge divide between the way in which data is used by the front-runners, like hightech companies and research institutions, and the majority of the other businesses. 

Accountability and empowerment

At the moment you already have incredible applications of big data, artificial intelligence and advanced analytics, but a lot of companies don't have their small data in order yet. Or the advanced projects are run in a corner of the organization, and are too theoretical. They don't realize clear business value and don't really land in the rest of the organization. Probably the necessary basics to make data a success are lacking. It takes a culture of accountability and empowerment to be able to fully enjoy the enormous potential that well implemented data projects can have.

For a data project to really take off, a culture of empowerment and accountability must exist within your organization. Through open communication, transparent goals and aligned incentives, you ensure that people take the initiative to improve the business and take responsibility if it does not turn out as hoped. This requires a clear direction. People need to understand why the organization is doing what it is doing and how their work contributes to it.

Psychological safety

You can only achieve this by setting a good example, being vulnerable as a leader, admitting mistakes and, if something goes wrong, looking at where the process is failing instead of where the people are failing. In this way you create a place where people feel safe to get the best out of themselves, with regards to the mission and in line with the strategy of the organization.

Getting to the "Why" of an organization, can sometimes feel threatening. Maybe the original mission has been diluted for a while, or there appear to be very different assumptions within the team. All change is difficult, especially change that is close to your identity.

Using data to create a better world (or is it the other way around?)

It is Xudo's mission to use data to follow up on your strategy. Working on a culture of empowerment and accountability actually precedes this. If we all became more aware of our own fear and insecurity, had the courage to confront it and take responsibility for our fear- and insecurity-driven actions, would we not be one step closer to a better world?

Since these are difficult issues with huge potential impact, we at Xudo call in help to do this kind of work on culture, mission and strategy. We have a few senior consultants in our network who are well versed in running high impact sessions with leadership teams. In short, to get the most out of your data in the long run, you now have to go through a difficult and uncomfortable exercise. Who dears to take the leap of faith?