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Following a practical guide on how to build data-driven culture and overcome resistance to change, Data Leaders Peer Exchange Series attendees shared what they see to be the key ways to driving change.

The key barriers to driving change

There was a lot of overlap when it came to the key barriers to overcome when it comes to driving change.

Stakeholder engagement came up the most often, complemented by lack of data savviness.

When the two are combined, it’s not surprising to see that fear fuels several additional sources for resistance. Fear of novelty, existing biases, low trust due to unmatched expectations in the past, and even resistance to establishing quantitative KPIs often stem from fear of change and the new and inevitably the unknown.

Finally, the way organisations are run can in itself be a reason for why
change is so difficult to implement. Several groups have mentioned silos,
lack of prioritisation and neglect for the need to change in the first place.

Practical advice for overcoming resistance and driving change

As driving change and overcoming resistance culture is a subject matter most data leaders have to address in their work, many strategies and tips have emerged from the session.

The role of communication and translators more specifically has not been left unnoticed. Several discussion groups suggested using translators to bring business experts and data experts closer together, and more specifically – bringing data teams closer to the company leadership.

One group suggested: “Onboard business leaders and co-built a global data roadmap, support data value creation by prioritising data management and technical works according to business priorities as much as possible.”

When it comes to stakeholder engagement, attendees further proposed hosting join sessions across functions, which can also help break down the silos and share knowledge across the organisation.
In order to shift towards a more data-driven culture, attendees have also outlined the importance of communicating the purpose of data, focusing on usability, ensuring alignment on the roadmap and showcasing the results:

“Appoint business lead for analytics to bridge the gap with the business. Align on the requirements. Focus on what we can do right now to bring impact vs phase 2. Chief Data Officer. Business Partners and Analytics Translators. Move away from consultancy to a product organization” outlined one of the groups.

When so many aspects of the data work remain invisible and resemble an iceberg, the realisation of the value of data is critical. Attendees suggest ‘balancing usability and complexity’, ‘making what we have user friendly, and not reinventing the wheel’.

Story-telling can play an important role too – tell an intriguing story, and further engage your stakeholders using gamification.
And remember to build good relationships with people who are already on your side – find influencers and cheerleaders who can tell the story of data on your behalf.

The discussion took place following the presentation on building a data-driven culture presented by Bill Hoffman.

Data Leaders members can access events like the Peer Exchange and further discuss it with their peers. Interested in becoming a member? Get in touch.

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Laura Bineviciute


Make better informed decisions by assessing your data and analytics capability and use community intelligence to close the gap between strategy and execution.


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