Data Storytelling: Data Driven Decisions, A Leadership Fallacy

Data tells us what is happening but leadership is about what can happen! In this short blog I share my key learnings from a recent experience of working with a client, who I was helping build a data driven story for business planning purposes.

Here is what I observed

1) Intuition : We already had some hypothesis based on our intuition that was built on our experience in the domain. For example, we knew the sale of X product would do well because there is an increased demand as a result of an upcoming festival where this product would be used. This is no different to sales of Christmas trees going up in December.

2) Insight : One particular analysis revealed to us something that was not based on our intuition, it was an insight, where the story took a different turn. There was one particular customer stream we had no idea that existed. So we worked on ways to make the buying more attractive for them. For example, we thought we were selling the product to consumers only but there were also small businesses who were buying the product in bulk and reselling them. So we created better package pricing for them.

Now we could have just shared what we found, maximise the sale based on insights we gained but the problem with that approach is that, all we have done is customer management. To help our customers achieve what they want.

Real leadership is when you can come up with things that people don’t even realise they need and when you put something they had not imagined in front of them is when you take leadership.

Data storytelling that is anchored purely on analysing the  data and doing what people want is a leadership fallacy. The problem with data is that its in the rearview and mostly leadership is forward looking. 

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