Data Storytelling and a mistake we often make
Less than 7 years ago, Managing Director of a business retrieves data for last 5 years sales revenue. He calls his team and shows them that in Year 1 and Year 2 they performed exceptionally well. In Year 3, the revenue dropped a little and in Year 4 and Year 5 it dropped even more.
He tells the team that they need a ” Rainmaker ” in the business. Someone who can bring the revenue back to what it was in Year 1 and Year 2. Shortly after, Rainmaker gets hired.
Sadly, 1 year later the only change that happens is that he has had three Rainmakers come and go and revenue continues to drop.
What is going on here?
The problem is most people look at the data and jump in solution mode.
Data tells us team work is not good. Let us resolve this by doing team building exercises.
Data tells us we don’t have enough gender diversity in our team. Let us get some women in to our workforce.
In this case, data tells us we have declining sales. Let us get a Rainmaker.
The reality is different. In Year 3, 3 other major global competitors had come in to the market and what was required was not a Rainmaker but a strategy on retaining clients.
If the Managing Director had interrogated the Data pattern, trend or anomaly. The Story would have sounded something like this
In Year 1 and Year 2 we had great revenue and as you can see in Year 3, 4 and 5 our revenues have consistently dropped. You know what happened in year 3? We had 3 other competitors enter the market who took our clients. Our market share reduced.
Interestingly, our new business generation remained the same for all 5 years but we lost loyal retainer clients. What we need is strategy for retainer clients not acquisition clients. We have leaky bucket business where we are adding sales with new clients but loosing sales from existing clients
So what can we do?
Do not jump from Problem to Solution when Data Storytelling.
Ask yourself, ” Why does the problem exist?” And that precisely is your insight/ unexpected of the Data Story
"I attended your story telling course some time back. And I've enjoyed keeping up my knowledge with your blog. You may not have realised however, that the WOG is implementing Internet Seperation. Hence I'm not able to access the links to read your articles. Could I suggest including a QR code in your emails so that I can use my mobile to scan it and gain immediate access to the article? It would be most helpful"