Data Strategy Zen
I’ve come to realize that I have an ability and true enjoyment of strategic analysis and all that it encompasses. My Enneagram score was the same for Type 3 and Type 1, so I’m an Achiever and a Reformer (the Enneagram result print out listed Type 3 first, so there might be a slight edge to Type 3, the Achiever; you can look up Enneagram Types for more information). My Myers & Briggs type is ENTP. I’ve taken other personality tests, and they all describe the same characteristics about me. So, it’s no wonder that I enjoy identifying the possibilities hidden in data.
When I look at data, I don’t see a sea of numbers. Instead, I see a story of macro trends, micro-trends, and the processes that deliver the story in numerical format. It’s a gift that I took for granted until I presented the results of data analysis and recommendations that I conducted to a client who told me it was the best they had ever received. They then told other people, eventually, I heard from three other people how pleased the client was with my analysis, recommendations, and presentation of the deliverable.
Small anomalies portend bigger opportunities; in process improvement resulting in improved quality, more sales, higher profit margins, etc.; new product development to meet unmet market demand, complement existing product offerings that cement client relationships and attract new customers. I have a gift of conceptualization and presenting data-backed recommendations. My challenge was always implementation, moving from strategic to tactical
I ran U.S. Metals for nearly a decade. While I was there I learned a great technique that helped me move my strategy to tactical. I mapped the business processes of U.S. Metals using a combination of graphics and written documentation (I also used this as the basis of implementing Lean Management methodology). I then mapped my tactical plans that were based on strategies. I then identified where the two maps fit and combined the master map with the newly created map (keep in mind this is a compliment to not a substitution for critical analysis of priorities, goals, and objectives).
The combination of the two maps identified the proper fit for the strategy and appropriate people who would become accountable. Combining the maps also identified how my financial model needed to be modified in order to provide a realistic representation of the organization and output information that would provide a high degree of confidence.
Analyze it, plan it, implement it