Episode 3: Data-driven Leadership

Michelle:

Thank you for joining Episode 3 of our Season 2 of the Reboot Program. There are many things that happen in a day when you work for a business in the service industry. Gabe Baradi talks about the third step to achieve Self-Leadership.

Gabe:

As we move forward into the new normal of work in the service industry, we realize that we need to be smarter about the decisions we make. Because of the pandemic, a lot of businesses will be re-evaluating their allocation of resources and what strategies they should use to meet the challenges ahead. Leadership is the ability to make and drive good decisions. Data-driven Leadership bases these decisions on the use of data. We need to make data-driven decisions to come up with the best solutions.

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Why is data important? The data that we can collect from our stores reflects the reality of our business conditions. Data helps us understand and improve how we work so we can maximize time and money. Knowing what our customer’s needs are helps us offer the right product or service. When we get feedback on their store experience, this helps us improve our service delivery by streamlining our processes. If we know when the peak time that our customers visit our stores this gives us the ability to plan for more staff coverage. 

Given the challenges we face, we are called to be data-driven leaders in our workplace. In the previous episodes, we talked about how self-leadership comes from self-awareness and self-management. Think of the results of self-awareness as the data you need to improve yourself. Knowing the data from our stores is what we need to improve our service as a team.

Here’s how we can develop data-driven leadership at work: 

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  • Know your store, company, and brand. We cannot sell our store’s products or services effectively if we are not familiar with what we are offering. Find out what makes our brand unique and valuable versus our competitors. Learn about our company’s mission, vision, values, and goals. Know what our store’s targets and performance are for the day, week, month, and year. When we have this knowledge, we can align our planned tasks and act effectively. We can also adjust our actions if the data shows that our earlier efforts are not working.
     
  • Collect the data that the store and company need. There is a lot of data we can collect at work, but not all is usable or valuable. Our company should already have a set of data that needs to be collected. Most of the time, we are also part of the collection process. We need to make sure that we are recording and reporting the correct data. Data that is made-up cannot be used for any effective purpose. Sometimes the data we collect shows that our team and store is not doing too well. This is valuable feedback and should not be changed to reflect a better (but false) picture of our performance. It is better to have accurate data so that we can make good decisions.
     
  • Use the data that the store and company generate to make decisions. The process of making business decisions cannot be solely based on intuition or guesses. We need to consider the data we have available before we come up with solutions. Data measures what we need to act on. Make use of the daily and weekly reports that are available to you before you start your day and week. There are so many questions we can ask that the data can answer: What was the best-selling item? What did the customers like about this item? What items did not move as fast? What changes can we make in how we sell the slow-moving items to make them next week’s bestsellers?
     
  • Share data and insights with colleagues. Using business data in making decisions may often seem intimidating. Some people may hesitate to look at the data if it doesn’t show good outcomes. But we need to learn to make decisions based on data if we hope to keep our stores and company profitable. The more we use data, the more comfortable we become with the process. Discussing this with colleagues helps to develop this discipline in the team. 
     
  • Look for valuable data that is not being measured. With changes in technology happening everyday, we are able to collect a wider set of data. Given our limited time and resources, our company usually prioritizes what data points to measure, collect, and act upon. But sometimes we may find valuable questions that our current data cannot answer. When we find situations like these, we need to talk to our team and leader to suggest the additional data we could collect. Our customers have ever-changing needs and preferences, just as business conditions are always evolving. The question that we find is not being answered may be the next innovation that our company needs to succeed.

 

Michelle Closing: 

We would like to end this episode with a few questions to help you practice what Gabe shared with us: 

  • Before Covid-19, do you recall certain problems that are recurring or happening frequently? Were these problems logged or documented and shared with management?
  • How do you feel about documenting issues at your store or branch? Do you write it down formally or do you verbally discuss it in meetings?
  • What kind of information about your customers and your store would help you be better at your work?

To be data-driven leaders, it will require commitment from the entire team to make it part of our daily practice. We need to understand that data about our store’s performance is not a personal reflection of an employee's individual shortcomings but the collective effort of the entire team. Only as a team, can we address any opportunities for improvement. 

This is where the Growth Mindset comes at play. We need to practice Openness, Humility and Excellence to overcome feelings that make us feel uncomfortable about this. 

Being Data-Driven is to have the awareness as a team and as a company to form better strategies and make informed decisions moving forward. The post-lockdown world puts everyone on the same page, where we cannot assume we know everything because everything may have changed. We do not know what we do not know. 

Gathering new data, Validating it from our past records and Discussing it as a team will help us work smarter and work better. See you in our next episode.