We all have our own agendas, objectives for personal growth, desires, and self-preservation instincts when it comes to our careers. And there's nothing wrong with that. Yet, to this extent, we may easily become actors in organizations that tend to be closed ecosystems, afraid of change, and worse, afraid to read data and grow from it. These organizations may fall into the trap of being governed not to manifest growth but to preserve power. They may get stuck in hyper orthodoxy, get afraid to "rock the boat," and (unknowingly) hinder innovation and growth.
“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”
― John C. Maxwell
Change is scary. We get it! However, nowadays the business sector is highly competitive. It's a scary world out there, and in the long run, you either grow or decline. To thrive, you must cultivate the right mindset to use data for growth, be aware of the fundamentals required to do so, and use the right set of growth hacks to achieve a high integrity, data-driven culture.
The fundamentals for an innovative data-driven environment
Data is foundational in making the right decisions for growth. To harness this power, we must fully recognize our fallacies, foster a solid basis for learning, and always act with integrity. It is really that simple!
Step 1: Recognize your fallacies
There is too much self-talk going on in your head. You want the world to be in a certain way, and you constantly twist and mold facts to fit the narrative that best fits your expectations. We all are original combinations of personality traits, previous life experiences, expertise, and mindsets. In short, each of us is uniquely biased. Take a moment to recognize that!
Step 2: Foster a solid basis for learning
A beginner's mindset is the best thing you can have. This comes with openness, creativity, passion, and patience. The world is changing at an unprecedented rate, and according to Moore's Law, knowledge tends to become obsolete every two years. College curriculums cannot possibly stay up to speed with these changes; therefore, implementing continuous learning frameworks is essential.
Step 3: Act with integrity
One of the most important aspects is that you act with high integrity and surround yourself with high integrity people. High integrity people have solid values and principles, are not afraid to prove you wrong, are assertive in building rapport, and don't shy away from taking on accountability. They are free to express themselves, stand up for their ideas, and do not limit their creativity.
10 growth hacks to foster an innovative data-driven culture
1. Put your mission first, your personal agenda second
To what extent are your actions serving others in your organization? Before you decide on how to handle data, ask yourself first if it serves your team and organization as well as it is intended to serve you.
2. Master your inventory
People, tools, budgets, and options. Do you have these covered before undertaking a data endeavor? Are you aware of all the possibilities and resources you may leverage to get clarity using data?
3. Be fair and humble
First, surround yourself with high integrity people and hear them out. Make sure that everyone in the room has strong values and principles and that they will fight for their ideas even if that means proving their manager wrong.
4. Kill all vanity projects
You had an idea, started a data project but it no longer serves any purpose. You may find yourself supporting it even if it no longer brings any value. If it only serves your ego, drop it. This is linked especially to long collaborations with research agencies that get stuck in a rut.
5. Build rapport
Get comfortable addressing issues, sharing thoughts, asking questions, and suggesting ideas without getting intimidated by ranks and titles. If you are a good professional and something needs to change or improve, you should be able to speak openly about your craft to everyone, including CEOs. Especially CEOs.
6. Listen, listen, and listen
Let people talk. This is the only way of building rapport and truly get to the bedrock of things. Don't shy away from difficult conversations. The world has more to it than what is in your head. Be open to being wrong and to "Aha!" moments.
7. Get creative
Creativity, especially with data, usually means dissolving conventional boundaries and exploring new ways of sourcing data, new angles of looking at data, and impactful ways of presenting it. Get playful, sketch, draw and make unexpected connections.
8. Get passionate
Passion is the ability to be driven towards undertaking a project. It's the restlessness that gets you out of your bed and into your work. Get passionate about getting your hands dirty with data and make a start!
9. Be patient
Patience is the ability to be consistent, stick with it, and show up every day. Having strong passion but expecting quick results is not enough to achieve success. Countless iterations, while you keep at it long enough, will definitely pay off. So be patient!
10. Be cool
One of the greatest assets of a good professional is having a good temperament. Things don't always go your way. Don't take it personally, and don't let anyone delude you and inflate or deflate your self-worth. Just do your thing and be cool about it.