Insight at the heart – changing culture

img_0032I have a mantra. It goes like this: you cannot call yourself customer centric unless you are first data centric.

In other words, your data (and the insight you service from it) will tell you so much about your customers that if you’re not using it to the absolute maximum then you can’t be providing the best to your customers that you can.

But shifting the culture in an organisation is tough. You can stand up on your soapbox and suddenly proclaim that your business will make decisions based on data, but those are just words. How do you get everyone to follow?

For me the greatest successes I’ve had in getting big organisations to start being more data and insight focused is to start small. Put away that soapbox and instead start building a movement behind you. Get a couple of senior stakeholders bought into what you are trying to achieve. And then get a couple of your peers bought in too. And between you start to create a plan of action and sketch out your processes.

And then get on with it. Accept you won’t get everything right immediately. But because your movement is small it doesn’t matter. You haven’t gone out there and promised the Earth. You can learn and try again.

And once you have a couple of really good wins behind you, start talking about it. Again, don’t go out there with your big bang, but just build your movement out a little further and embrace a few more followers. Keep your senior stakeholders in the loop and excited about what you are doing, and continue to test and learn as your new followers come on board.

When you feel like you have a bit of momentum behind you and crucially you have strong processes and governance in place (good quality data, people, escalations, etc) then go ahead and talk a little more widely and a little more loudly. More people will jump on board. You’ll have a few more challenges and you will evolve but that’s only to the benefit of the movement.

This won’t all happen overnight. You will need to be in it for the long run. But you are more likely to have sustained success and growth this way than shouting at people to follow you (or in some places I’ve been in, to just fucking do it…).