Mike C

A Leadership Blog

Using Technology and Data to Drive Change

Introduction

The realm of technology is something that many leaders look at with disdain. They see it as a cost and not an opportunity to help. They look at it as something that they have to use to carry out a set of tasks on a regular basis. If they don’t, then the whole organization stumbles to a halt.

What Leadership Is, A Brief Recap from Last Post

Leadership is essentially about helping to be the best that they can be. Leadership is about investing in helping the community move forward via investing in the development of a person within a predetermined framework. It is essential to get people involved with getting to subscribe to change. This is what leadership is in a nutshell. Not understanding this rather rudimentary definition makes it hard to distinguish what a leader is versus what a manager is. Managers tend to use data to drive changes to processes first and then people second. Leaders use the information to be able to improve their staff and make life easier for them.

What Leadership Needs

Leadership needs data and it needs a lot of it. While this is a little counter-intuitive, leaders need to make decisions based off of information They have to be able to make decisions and without having data can make it rather hard for anyone in any sort of leadership role to make sound decisions.

This leads to a situation where leadership needs to figure out exactly what they need. Here where the interesting portion comes into play:

  1. Need a way to implement the system without interfering with certain employee laws
  2. Need a way that they can easily use this information that they collect
  3. Need a way to distinguish what is a process issue versus an employee issue

Utilizing this structure, it can be rather hard to make some implementations on the front end. Let’s look at these individually:

Needing to implement a system without interfering in certain employee laws

In order for the system to implement, it has to be able to conform to the employment laws that exist. You cannot as a leader implement something that is going to interfere with the intricate details of someone’s life. You cannot implement a system that is going to interfere with an employee’s research into a health condition that they might have. Situations like this can make it tricky to effectively implement systems that you might need in order to collect data. In order to collect data that you can use to optimize systems and people within the organization. Best to keep things generic and allow employees to know that there are systems being implemented on the back in order to optimize content. Make sure that you consult with HR and any other important individuals to ensure that what you are doing is legal.

This can make it easier for employees and volunteers to bring a harassment suit against you as the leader and your organization. That can wind up costing the company millions or even billions a year. That can wind up costing the company’s reputation in terms of being trustworthy and reliable. So be careful how you implement and what you collect from your employees.

Need a way that information can be easily used

The purpose of knowing and using technology is being able to utilize the information that is being provided. It is being able to utilize the information in an easy to consume way that helps make their lives easier. Charting and recommendation engines are a great way for leaders to be able to utilize technology and information that it provides into an easier format to drive data-driven change in a company. The information has to be established in a way that can make it easier to consume the necessary components of it while collecting the necessary data. If you cannot use the data, why even collect it? The purpose of data is to utilize the information. It is essential for driving the company forward. Having information like this is important regardless.

Need a way to determine what is a process issue versus and employee issue

The data also needs to be organized effectively. Leaders and managers need to know what a problem boils down to a process or a person. Process problems need to be revisited in order to make them successful. They might need to be simplified or changed in order to make it easier to carry out a particular range of functions. Simplifying processes makes it easier to perform those repeated tasks time and time again and can increase the productivity of the staff. In terms of the people aspect of it, it can lead a leader to be able to address performance problems and helpfully remove any individuals that might be creating further problems.

Implementation

Now for the implementation phase of this post. It takes time to make changes. It takes time to implement the technology to make any drive forward. The best thing is to see the budget and start seeing what employees are going to benefit from the most. If it does not carry any sort of benefit, even if a little, then you have done nothing to improve your lot. What you can do is also research or task people to research some of these things. That would be the easiest first task to do. The second is to look at the best possible solutions or even things that you could implement early on. While doing that, keep your eyes open towards changes or better products that you can use. Having this can make it easier to drive further changes in the future. This could be an aftermarket extension for Excel. This could be a product that is offered by Oracle. It doesn’t matter as long as it can help in a short time. From this transition, work towards custom and internal solutions if you have someone tech-savvy enough.

Some companies might never progress to that final stage. They might not ever be able to fully implement what they need. Sometimes they don’t really need to in order to make a successful implementation of technology. That is perfectly fine if that implementation that they use drives the benefit and provides the needed data. If the change at the end of the day results in the information that they need, it is sound.

Conclusion

Technology is something that most, if not all, leaders should be striving to implement. Without these changes, it can cause many organizations to fail and stumble. Look at what technology could do to benefit your organization today.