/ 3 takeaways from a talk about leadership and analytics

Leaders today need to lead with their hearts rather than their heads, empower their employees to be leaders themselves, and use data and analytics to inform the types of conversations required to drive organizational success in a post-COVID world.

Those are the main takeaways from Domo’s third CURIOSITY episode, “Leadership and Analytics” (see snippet below). In doing all of the above, organizations “will be catapulted in a quicker, more dynamic way,” said Joy Driscoll, chief information officer and digital enablement officer of Vivint Smart Home.

Joy was joined by Seismic chief strategy officer Randy Wootton and moderator Donald Farmer, a data and analytics expert. Among the topics the trio covered was a new leadership concept that has emerged in recent months: distributed leadership.

“We have 1,000 people across four different locations around the world,” Randy said. “So, a distributed leadership model is one you have to embrace” in order to “create a collective sense of identity and purpose so you can continue to push forward.”

A good way to establish such a model is to “empower your team while still aligning to a common goal,” Joy said. “How can I empower them to feel in charge of a particular capability, or a particular customer experience?”

To cope with another new challenge—the speed at which the world is changing—it’s important for leaders to do two things, Randy said: connect with people in a way that makes them feel safe; and create metrics that matter.

“During this particular time,” Joy added, “the core metrics or fundamentals of our business have not changed, but we are magnifying different leading indicators.”

Joy and Randy pointed to a new type of analytics that has come to the surface this year, especially as it relates to sales teams.

“Up until six months ago, sales reps would jump on a plane, fly to their clients, do the sales pitch, then do some follow-up,” Randy said. “With COVID, they’ve had to completely re-envision how they’re going to engage with prospects.”

Leaders can help colleagues in that position by prioritizing connection, Joy said.

“You have to actually lead with that first,” she continued. “You just have to connect in a different way now. We need to adjust how we run our work, how we run the workplace, to ensure we are continuing to sustain and maintain great talent.”

To support workers who may need to develop a new set of skills, leaders can—and should—use analytics and empathy in tandem, Randy said.

“Every organization has their surveys, which I think are important to do, so you get feedback on how your leaders are doing and can reinforce a culture of accountability and transparency,” he said. “The real power, though, comes from the conversations you have after the survey. The data is an excuse for the conversation, and from that you can create a collective consciousness or agreement that you’re going to work on or toward something together. Winning is a ‘we’ thing.”

So, what should leaders understand or be thinking about going forward?

“What this crisis has unveiled is that we can go a lot faster, and we can do an unbelievable level of change when everyone is surrounded by a common goal and led toward a common goal,” Joy said. “If you need to shift, you can shift. We know that now.

“But also, this as an opportunity to check back in on your core business strategy. Is everyone truly aligned? And have we done a ruthless prioritization so we can accelerate at an even faster pace?”

“The focus should be on 90-day plans, not year-long strategies,” Randy answered. “So, spend the time to understand the capacity you have to deliver on whatever your metrics are within 90 days, and get really deliberate about that 90-day planning cycle.

“Another thing I’ve been working on is understanding the most important things that people need to accomplish in a day or week, and then giving them the freedom to manage their days accordingly to accomplish them.”

To learn more from a new breed of leaders driving the next wave of business, and hear how to lead your people into the unknown and measure your progress, watch or listen to the third episode in the CURIOSITY series here.

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