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As we close out the first month of the new decade, our personal resolutions have become more realistic and the expectations for how to reach them are hopefully clearer.

The same goes for businesses and the key players within them. The critical priorities leaders have set for 2020 should be well-defined and in alignment with strategic measures for success.

So what does that look like exactly?

When we say well-defined, we don’t just mean having a strong understanding of where the business is currently positioned and measuring out overarching goals of where to be in a said amount of time. We mean refining the strategic plan down to metrics that are relevant, representative, and revealing of all the data being captured for the business, or a leader’s own department.

how leaders make decisions

In order to remain competitive, leaders must learn to know their data. In order to breathe the mission or stand by their brand, leaders must learn to know their data. In order to simply make the daily decisions that are necessary for progress, leaders must learn to know their data.

This can sound intimidating for those who would prefer to have an in-depth conversation based on personal insight and subject matter expertise. While there will always remain value in those discussions, the ability to react instantly and alleviate human bias is incomparable when business operational efficiencies are at stake.

To do so, leaders and businesses as a whole must learn to bring data-driven decisions to the table. Here, we outline why this is the one New Year’s resolution every leader should keep.

Who and what are your decisions impacting?  

leadership decisions

Every business serves a purpose. Underlying that purpose are key objectives supported by department resources, human capital, strategic partners, and technologies relevant to the business structure at hand.

The decisions that executives and leaders enforce have to always be mindful of that purpose and determine if the assets they are accountable for are operating counterintuitively. But what happens if a decision like that is made a day too late? What about a week?

It is critical that leaders can make decisions that not only influence the productivity of their own work capacity, but enforce accurate and timely deliverables that impact what the business stands for. Data in real-time works to support both the decision-maker and what’s otherwise jeopardized if left outdated.

What is your data NOT telling you?

using data to make informed decisions

Many businesses may already be using data to inform their decisions but still missing the mark on what it means to be data-driven. Just because one has the numbers, doesn’t mean they have the answers.

In order to drive action, leaders must first be aware of what their current data is telling them and where informational gaps may exist. These gaps can include anything from redefining KPIs and metrics that more accurately measure, to an entire team having untapped opportunities with existing data sources.

Leaders have to be conscious to not miss the forest for the trees because they are simply using KPIs that are not indicative of targets they need answers for. They should reflect back on their strategic targets and re-ask questions on how that target can be achieved, what success would look like, and what the time frame should be.

Leaders can then compare how their current data stands alongside these answers and assess if there is any form of disconnect – whether it be what is measured, how it is measured, and which data sources are used/needed to get there. Together, they can work to adjust KPIs and metrics, know where to collect any necessary data, and integrate the corresponding sources that will provide the most insight.

Analyze to act, not just comprehend

analyzing data decisions

To analyze means to “examine methodically and in detail the constitution or structure of information, for purposes of interpretation and explanation,” according to its official definition.

Analytics should not have to be an intimidating skill to learn or limited to those with a data science background or position. However, they do require more than just interpretation. As busy as executives and leaders are these days, they can typically only afford to interpret data at a very high level.

Unfortunately, that’s just scratching the surface. The decisions made by leaders should be receiving the level of attention that comes with methodical examination and explanation. So how can they learn to react and deliver actionable insight while not spending any more time than they are on doing just data interpretation?

There are two steps in doing so: 1) Bring dashboards into the toolbox for leaders and 2) Implement education/t raining for them to learn how to leverage analytics through the dashboards.

With sufficient training and onboarding of dashboards, leaders will not only learn analytic techniques that align best with their goals, but also uncover deeper insight into metrics and know how to communicate what that means in relation to the business. They can also save time and resources that would be otherwise spent adjusting consequences of decisions made on just a quick comprehension.

Practice and governance  

decision making strategy

Many professionals learn by doing, and in order to see a successful strategy through, it often takes practice. Attitudinal change is not immediate, and leaders have to be patient knowing data-driven decisions will only set themselves and the business up for scalable success in the long-run.

The more every leader at the organization is on board, the more traction a data-driven shift can have, allowing the data governance to follow accordingly and more intuitively. The facets that build a strong data governance program can be better managed when all your data is held in a single source of truth through a dashboard solution like iDashboards. From data security to data quality, leaders need an enterprise solution that goes beyond visualization. No pain point is too unique, and no goal is too big for leading necessary change with real-time data.


Interested to get started in making data-driven decisions the New Year’s resolution you can keep? Click here to contact iDashboards today.

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Carol Senn Account Executive

Carol Senn, one of the newest members of the iDashboards family, is responsible for new business growth. Prior to iDashboards, Carol worked for one of the world’s leading IT research and advisory companies as well as a global technology solutions company. When she's not obsessing over dashboards, you can find her scouring cookbooks for inspiration or planning her next trip.


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