Why Analytics makes people nervous?
The reasons behind, and some hints to help you during difficult conversations and challenging situations!
One of the best things, when working as a Consultant or an Advisor, is that you work with people from different organisations and industries around the world. Usually, they are coming from different educational backgrounds and often from totally different business and working cultures.
Personally, I have the privilege of working with people from many different countries, and gain valuable experience through interacting with these people in my career to date. However, one of the most common, uncomfortable situations that I have experienced, is meeting with people who feel really nervous when planning or starting with Analytics!
Indeed, there are many instances when Analytics make Managers or Executives within large organisations, feel stressed and nervous, which can ultimately lead them to postpone or even reject analytical initiatives that could help their organisations grow.
But what are the reasons for this, and how can you handle similar, challenging situations?
Is the TECHNOLOGY very confusing and very TECHNICAL?
I understand that for many people, Analytics might seem very complex and very technical. Working with numbers is not interesting and fun for all, and based on my experience, some people simply have a natural ‘repulsion’ for mathematics and statistics, but that’s no excuse for not taking advantage of one the most valuable assets in your organisation, your data.
The plethora of the Analytics tools that currently exist, may create an extra layer of confusion and difficulties into understanding Analytics. However, many of these tools now provide modern, user friendly graphical interfaces, guides and visualisation capabilities that help non-technical users, quickly become citizen data scientists.
My understanding is that it is not usually the skill-set, but more the mind-set that needs to change. It is the fear and the anxiety when working with numbers that people need to fight and overcome. The tools are there, and the resources are also there, to help you upskill and gain confidence when working with data.
HINT #1: Start with a 360o Technology Review Session and look for Analytics Partners that can educate you and help you select the tool that is most appropriate, based on your business needs. Let them guide you and explain how to upskill through appropriate training, mentoring and knowledge transfer sessions, so that you and your peers are ready to embrace this technological transformation.
Are the BENEFITS and the business IMPACT not clear enough?
The most successful companies in the world right now, such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Netflix have one thing in common – the strong focus on Analytics. It is as simple as that!
Still, a lot of organisations don’t seem to get it! What if there are thousands of studies available now that explain in detail the benefits that Analytics can bring? They still prefer to operate on gut feeling rather than based on facts.
In addition, they often refer to organisational constraints and the limitations that daily workloads create, as the main reason for not moving forward with Analytics. But they do not acknowledge that these issues will soon be magnified, if they don’t start analysing their data and start taking decisions based on analytical insights.
They also ignore the proven cost benefits from resource optimisation, and the competitive advantage and sustainable growth that Analytics can bring… So, let’s be honest, it’s not about the benefits.
Again, it’s the lack of confidence and the anxiety that Analytics is causing for Managers. They don’t know where or how to start from, or how to build a successful business case and a measurable return on investment for their organisations.
HINT #2: Use an analytical framework to identify business cases, explore business opportunities, assess your organisational and data readiness, and build your vision with a solid roadmap for the future. Start Small, Think Big they say…
Is it about ACCOUNTABILITY and CONFIDENCE after all?
Harvard Business Review has thoroughly explained why Managers resist to Analytics and how this is related with accountability issues.
In summary, although Analytics is meant for Managers – helping them make rational, subjective decisions using data – some of them, believe that Analytics exposes their incompetence and creates uncertainty around their skills, making them more accountable for any future inefficiency. This is a risk that many Managers just are not willing to take.
However, I strongly believe that Managers have nothing to be afraid of. On the contrary, there are only good things to gain from Analytics. It is a means to let them ‘shine’ and protect them from making wrong decisions, providing a powerful tool to improve personal and organisational performance.
HINT #3: Start Analytics with confidence! Avoid the mistakes that can make your efforts a waste of time…