How to Motivate Your Team to Get Analytics Results

by | Nov 15, 2018 | General BI

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Implementing an analytics solution can be a game changer for your organization. It allows you to turn your data into information that employees in all areas can take advantage of.

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However, despite all the promise of analytics, in practicality, implementation is often met with mixed results (a
lot of failures) and a loss of momentum. How can you get your team motivated to get the results you’re looking for? Let’s examine.

The value of quick wins

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I’m going to run a marathon!” and then you look at your running shoes sitting in the closet day in and day out without getting any wear? That’s because you set too ambitious of a goal without any plan as to how to get there. Or even if you did have a plan, it just seems like such a daunting task that you’ll never make it.

Business projects can be much the same way. “Let’s implement analytics across the organization, and soon everyone will gain amazing insights through data!” you think. But then reality hits. How do you get there? What steps are required? How do you change the culture of decision-making? Then inertia sets in, and your analytics software is looking an awful lot like those running shoes in the back of your closet.

So how could you better reach your goal? Set a smaller one. When it comes to running, aim to finish a 5K, or a fun run, or just run to the end of your street. Get a quick win, and another quick win, and another, and soon you’ll be well on your way to that marathon.

According to Jeff Haden, author of the book The Motivation Myth, this works because your body enjoys the feeling of success:

“Improving feels good. Improving breeds confidence. Improving creates a feeling of competence, and competence breeds self-confidence. Success — in your field or sometimes in any field — breeds motivation. It feels good to improve … so you naturally want to keep improving.”

Try a similar phased approach with business projects. This will allow you to gain quick wins along the way, which will motivate your employees to reach the end goal. As Brent Gleeson writes in an Inc. magazine article:

“Organizational change takes time and must involve the majority — if not all — of the people in the organization in some manner. But most people won’t lace up their boots and head out on the long march unless they know there are more near-term strategic achievable goals set along the path to ultimate victory.”

Using quick wins in analytics

When you are implementing analytics with a phased approach, there are 5 things you should do that will help you avoid hiccups along the way:

1. Gather requirements up front

It is a best practice to involve all stakeholders from the executive team to the end-users from the very beginning. Having all the necessary insight up front saves a lot of extra rework down the road.

2. Break down the requirements into key business areas and phases

This makes for much more manageable chunks of work, making it easier to stay on schedule. Project members also feel more productive knowing work is getting accomplished.

With larger projects, when you encounter roadblocks, schedules can be pushed out innumerable times and you have nothing to show for all the work that has gone into them. Breaking the project into multiple phases allows for a more iterative development process in which interaction with the project stakeholders is frequent and consistent. With more frequent feedback, you can better guide and correct your development course. This is opposed to trying to do the whole project and then finding out at the end you took a hard right turn when you should have gone left.

3. Select the priority of phases

There is no hard and fast rule to scheduling your phases. It depends on the dynamics and internal politics of your organization. But when determining the schedules and priorities consider the following:

  • Which departments stand to benefit most from a particular phase?
  • Which phases will make the greatest impact on the organization as a whole?
  • Are there certain phases that are more complex or bound to have additional challenges?
  • Which business area is likely going to be most receptive to using a new tool?
  • What departments have the time and flexibility to work on a particular phase?
  • Which business areas have clearly defined metrics that can successfully implemented without delay?
  • Which dashboards have readily available data?

4. Continually validate data

Iterations are of significant importance when it comes to data validation. With analytics, data integrity is paramount. During initial roll-out, if data is determined to be inaccurate, you can lose your audience forever. Result? All your development time, personnel, and financial investment are wasted. Constantly getting eyes in front of the data during development allows for more opportunities to catch errors and it makes the final validation/QA stage easier on your validation team.

5. Roll-out to departments gradually

An iterative roll-out as functionality becomes available makes change management and user adoption much easier. Rather than trying to force the whole organization at once to make a complete paradigm shift, rolling-out to departments and/or business areas as projects become available allows you to focus your resources a little at time to make sure roll-out is smooth and thorough. As you successfully roll-out to different departments, good word of mouth about the successful implementation can get uninitiated departments excited about their rollout and more engaged when their turn comes.

Analytics is a living, breathing creature. Measurement and analysis lead to constant improvement, which leads to new analytics initiatives. Because of this, you can’t really treat analytics as a one-shot deal. It needs to be iterative, flexible, and rapid. You’ll find this approach will help motivate your team to get excited about analytics and work to find new uses throughout the organization. Their excitement will also spread to others who will want to find analytics uses of their own.

What motivates people?

Our team at Dimensional Insight has done a lot of thinking about motivation lately. Are people born with motivation? Why do some people seem more motivated than others? What are their secrets to success? How can we use these secrets in the workplace?

We found out the answers in the book The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden, which we are reading as part of the Dimensional Insight Book Club. Stay tuned for our review of the book of November 29th.

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Kathy Sucich
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