Effective Leadership; Data-Centric Decision Making

Effective Leadership; Data-Centric Decision Making

Effective leadership is defined by the leader’s ability to successfully support and influence the different players in an organisation such as the people comprising the different teams and other stakeholders like investors towards achieving the goals and objectives of the organisation. That involves the art of delegating, engagement and personal development of the employees.

However, effective leadership often involves much more than that. It also involves a lot of negotiations on behalf of the organisation, the employees and the investors. Amid all these, endless decisions are made or must be made. This is where data-centric decision-making becomes important.

The advantage of data-centricity underpins the value of proactive systems. Traditional approaches tend to be inflexible and reactive. This means that things happen before solutions are sought. The period between something cropping up and being sorted in a traditional approach takes time which in turn ‘eats’ on value creation.

Proactive systems have strong digital solutions within the organisation that ensure seamless communication and sharing of data for real-time decision-making. The essential need for data-driven decision-making approaches for effective leadership need not be overemphasized.

In current times, organisational competence is heavily dependent on the interconnectivity between the products, processes, departments, services and customers in a company. A leader with such real-time data at their disposal can prioritise resource allocation – raw material or human etc – based on the demand for optimal resource utilization and subsequent returns.

Leadership entails decisions, ethics, inspiration, shared vision and support to the team among many other roles. Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock

Such a leader can effectively utilise past data for effective planning. This translates to a keen understanding of the decoupling point for instance in inventory management thus ensuring stability in the supply chain in the event of disruptions. For advanced and complex organisations, data becomes important for planning purposes to ensure maximum human resource utilization in a flexible job market. This means an organisation does not end up hiring too much workforce when the output needed is low.

All these can be achieved seamlessly when an organisation has a proper data strategy with data analytics at its centre. Having data and using it properly to achieve the right goals are two different things. So many people or organisations have tons and tons of data. And that is it.

The effective leader doesn’t stop at having the data or a proper mechanism of harnessing the data. To them, the data becomes such a powerful tool for defining every decision that is made. Well, with data, decision-making becomes factual as opposed to reasonable. It is not about defining hypotheses and testing them out rather it is by taking steps based on available numbers, trends, graphical representation et cetera.

Data, hence, becomes a powerful tool for the organisation to manoeuvre through periods of uncertainty. Where there is no data, decisions often become a matter of intuition. The bigger problem becomes the fact that those intuitions are from multiple individuals in the case of a boardroom meeting. The criteria on which intuition to trust is another story altogether.

In the case of data, it is evident that opportunities and risks can be identified accurately and even the outcomes precisely predicted. Thus, data becomes a tool that curates trust and confidence within the organisation and also creates a trustable image to the outer world through stability.

Data also enables organisations to become agile. These organisations are defined by fast, quick, flexible and efficient systems. Decisions that quickly adapt the company to market changes and challenges are at the top of the organisation’s strategy. New opportunities are taken up at high speeds. Innovation is a constant.

Effective leadership uses data to enhance product and service propositions, better manage the business and its people including shareholders and especially those who must be involved and informed, improve the business’s value generation and improve how accurately they meet customer needs. This is why data centre audits need to be done regularly and updated as they have become a central part of the business tools used for decision-making more than ever before.

It is high time leaders began taking a keener look at the statement intimating that data is king on a larger scale. Not only is data-driven leadership becoming an integral characteristic of efficient,  effective and successful leaders but also an integral consideration by potential employees to determine the companies they are willing to work for.

It is believed that data-driven organisations have better human resource management systems with better chances of employee development. So, if you are a leader, have you embraced the data-driven approach or are you still using the reactive approach only to drive the organisation? If that is your style, times have changed and you might become obsolete.  Find out what data and data analytics can do for you and your business and your world will change for the better.

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus. He writes in the areas of Science, Manufacturing, Technology, Innovation, Governance, Management and International Emerging Issues. For featuring, promotions or support, reach out to us at info@dailyfocus.co.ke
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