Category Archives: Skills

You need to master more than just data.

Organizations, leaders, groups, units, business models, priorities and pretty much everything around you is in a constant state of change. How do you manage to stay on top of things and continue to play a role is helping to shape what the change looks like? Do you think that if you keep your head down and soldier on that you will have any influence on the shape or structure of the new group, leader or business model? Perhaps. But not much, or not where it really counts. You need to speak up, sell yourself, play a role and help shape the next iteration if you will. You have the skills that are needed, you wouldn’t be here otherwise. So what makes you so special? What do you have that will help the NEW (whatever) succeed? How can YOU have any influence on what the next iteration looks like? How can YOU master your destiny?

It’s pretty simple. You need to package and sell your rockstarness. (Okay rockstarness is not really a word but it gets the message across and we love making up new terms). You need to let the people who are accountable for shaping the change know that you have some of the right stuff needed to make this happen and that by including you they will have increased their chances for success! Heck, I’m sure you have a business case already in your head. You see the change beginning to happen and you say to yourself:” I could help with this”, or “I know how to make this work”, or even “I can bring these people together to help make this work”. You might even be losing sleep or feeling some stress because you feel so strongly about your ideas for shaping the new change and are frustrated that you are unable to help.

Package Yourself

Write down the stuff that’s in your head. Package it up. One page should do. Send it to some colleagues or mentors and ask for their feedback. Incorporate their feedback. Make it sing. It’s you in one page. Keep it simple and strategic (if you can). Use common language (please) as the potential for You in One Page to be circulated is there and you want it to resonate with anyone who comes across it. You are now prepared!

Now Sell the Package

Request to meet with the influential leaders who are accountable for the change. Let them know you have some skills that can help them and ask for a brief period of their time to discuss the value you hope to bring to the change. I guarantee they will accept your invite and be very happy to talk with you. After all, they have been tasked with this change and will everything they can to ensure its success. If you can help then all the better for them. And you!

Master your destiny!

No one else is responsible for selling you except for you. Take responsibility for shaping that destiny. If the leaders include you in the change then great! If not, then it’s probably not because of anything you didn’t do. It may be out of their hands due to other factors such as politics, culture or organizational readiness. Whatever the outcome, at the very least you won’t bemoan the fact that you didn’t do everything in your power to participate. But if you don’t, you might just get left behind, and you will have no one to blame but yourself. You are the master of your destiny! Make it happen!

Attributes of a Data Rock Star

Earlier this week, Jill Dyché (@JillDyche), successful author, blogger, BI, MDM and Data Governance consultant and all around information guru, created a flurry of creactivity (I just made that word up – it’s a combination of the words creative and activity), when she tweeted a simple response that suggested a couple of data rock star types, in response to an excellent on-line article Are You a Data Rock Star? by Elizabeth Glagowski.

Elizabeth’s article has some excellent descriptions and examples of the attributes of what makes a great data rock star and Jill’s vigorous (and often humorous) take on business and IT alignment always identifies the rock star behaviors of being able to communicate the linkage between a company’s information and its business value.

The results of the flurried creactivity, was Jean-Michel Franco (@jmichel_franco) coming up with a name that was quickly adopted; “The Rolling Forecasts”, and Jim Harris(@ocdqblog), in his latest Obsessive Compulsive Data Quality blog post, coined the brilliantly perfect and perfectly brilliant lyrics to the band’s first song: “You can’t always get the data you want”.

So what I decided to do here was attempt to compile all these rock start attributes and behaviors in a simple format, so that they can be easily re-used and referred to. I plan on adding these to our internal wiki and identifying them as behaviors of successful data stewards. I a) hope they get read and b) hope that they get people thinking, behaving, changing…

· Excellent communicator of business and IT concepts using common language

· Ability to link information to business value

· Effective at communicating concepts and new ideas at early stages in order to reduce change management efforts

· Has excellent self awareness and understands the link between trust and partnership

· Is able to express thoughts and opinions in various ways in order to be able to provide feedback when others may not be interested in hearing it

· And seeks out and is receptive to feedback and continuously provides the opportunity for others to provide it

· Actually listens to the feedback and changes behavior/process/approach for continuous improvement (don’t get me started on people who ask for feedback but couldn’t give a rat’s a**..)

· Understands the link between clarifying expectations and how that will lead to success

· Ability to know how to engage and enthuse others – must understand the body language, communication preferences, motivations and needs of others

· Must be able to spot opportunities and take advantage of them – and especially do it in a way that others are unaware of it

· Must be comfortable pushing the boundaries in order to change things and do so in a way that others are unaware the boundary is being pushed

· Must be comfortable exerting authority and using it appropriately – all the while smiling and engaging others

· Is able to identify key success measures from both business and IT perspective and communicate effectively – at the beginning to confirm what is expected and throughout to continue to re-iterate value

· Is well liked and respected – this will ensure access to resources, tools, other stakeholders, hidden information (you KNOW that happens), and will help pave the way through political and cultural roadblocks

· Be able to articulate solutions as practical and logical and tie them directly to group/organizational goals

What do you think?