The Decision Maker

Developing an Analytics-Savvy Organization

Posted by Aaron Wang on Apr 6, 2012 8:57:48 AM

“They just don’t get it”, is a common frustration expressed by analytics champions who are making slow progress in bringing more fact-based decision- making to their organizations.

A recent article, Good Data Won’t Guarantee Good Decisions (Harvard Business Review April 2012), zeros in on the issue with great insight. First, three types employees are identified in terms of ability to find and analyze relevant information:

  • Unquestioning Empiricists – data-based decision making is the only way – check your gut at the door
  • Visceral Decision Makers – data, schmata – intuition is king
  • Informed Skeptics – balance facts and intuition

The authors suggest the last group has the best decision makers. Not only are they skillful analysts, but they consider other opinions and are willing to question the direction of the herd. Unfortunately, only 38% of employees, and 50% of senior managers are Informed Skeptics according to the article. Yet, members of the group should be highly prized by organizations since they typically score above average on traits like “effectiveness, productivity, employee engagement, and market-share growth”.

In my next few blogs, I’ll comment on the authors’ explanations for why the ranks of the Informed Skeptics aren’t bigger and their recommended steps for organizations to take toward increasing the number of employees in this group.

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