Mark Caswell in IBJ on the importance of transparency in data-driven leadership

We’ve heard a lot about data-driven culture over the past several years, but there aren’t many conversations about data-driven leadership—and Resultant CEO Mark Caswell believes it’s time that changed.

In the latest issue of the Indianapolis Business Journal, Caswell shares what he means by data-driven leadership, why it matters, and the first steps you can take toward implementing it in your own organization.

Data-driven decisions don’t stop with leaders

Often when a company is data-driven, the focus is on leaders and managers having the data they need to make decisions. Caswell knows that you’ll achieve better results by making data accessible across the whole organization. Data-driven decision making can’t stop at the top.

Data transparency is essential to empower leaders and managers, but remember there’s another part to it: presenting data in an understandable, usable format so everyone can make sense of it.

With growth comes complexity

When companies are small, data used to inform decisions is straightforward and uncomplicated. But when they grow, data systems need to evolve to ensure quality, reliability, and availability. Getting the right data to the right people at the right time gets complex when there are more departments, more layers, and more business. The need for information to flow into a newly expanded organization in a standardized, intentional, helpful way must be met fully and quickly for a successful expansion.

The big picture of data-driven leadership

An important principle to keep first is that data needs context to be useful. Sometimes leaders, in an effort to become more transparent without overwhelming a team, provide just one piece of information. The problem is that team members making decisions based on that stand-alone data without context risk making bad decisions. They don’t have enough information without the full view.

Teams need a holistic view of the entire business. Even when it seems like it won’t impact their day-to-day responsibilities, understanding the big picture helps everyone make better decisions.

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