When was the last time you learned something new? I mean really learned something new? Still thinking? I’ll go first.
Two months ago, I did something that both exhilarated and terrified me by signing up and attending a half-day financial training workshop called, “Understanding Financial Statements for the Non-Financial Executive.” A workshop all about understanding core finance and accounting concepts, learning how to read financial statements, and being able to pinpoint financial statement nuances among different industries/verticals.
As a total right-brainer — and someone who sees the world through a sea of words, idioms, grammar, and stories — this was intimidating work for me. But I’ve long believed that as leaders we need to get ahead of things that scare and excite us and commit to owning our accelerated understanding in that focus area… versus waiting for someone to ask us to take action in that area and then feeling like it’s a race to catch up.
Now I’ll be honest. The course was hard! I mean really hard! It no doubt brought me back to my high school math days, along with those dreaded teenage feelings that I might never learn how to crack calculus.
But it was also incredibly empowering and motivating to remember that we are always one decision away from shifting our understanding from “not knowing” to “foundational” to dare I say eventually “strategic” in terms of our comprehension and application!
The business world continually throws pressure at us as leaders to understand and to shift from foundational to strategic, particularly when it comes to megatrends, macro shifts, and emerging technologies. Just consider the pace of adoption when it comes to innovation as a reminder of how important it is for us to keep up. What is nascent and disruptive one day — think cloud, VoIP, AI, IoT — becomes ubiquitous and even commonplace seemingly days later. The risk of falling behind has never been greater, as the window to be among the Early Adopters is ever-shrinking, while the consequence of falling into the late laggard group has never been so steep.
This pressure to keep up is perhaps no more felt than when we consider the impact of data and advanced analytics in business. Let’s dive in a bit further.
It seems like only years ago that terms like “big data,” “artificial intelligence,” and “data science” were first becoming prevalent… often conjuring up images of overwhelming Excel spreadsheets, robots, and mathematicians running algorithms at cubicles.
But today, you’d be hard-pressed to find any leader who isn’t thinking about things like…
In many ways, when it comes to data and advanced analytics, it’s not enough to just have a foundational understanding. All leaders are expected to be data-confident — leveraging data and analytics daily to power their teams, decisions, and focus areas.
Regardless of what you lead — Data, People/HR, Marketing, Sales, etc. — you can always supercharge your team/function’s efforts around data. Here are 3 ways to immediately propel your data maturity further:
Our ability to shift from foundational to impactful is always within reach, particularly when it comes to business imperatives for today and tomorrow. In the world of data, what move do you want to make next?