Unleashing Your Potential: Setting Goals for Analytic Professionals in 2024

Unleashing Your Potential Setting Goals for Analytic Professionals in 2024
Unleashing Your Potential Setting Goals for Analytic Professionals in 2024
Written by Heather L. Cole, December 28th, 2023

As we step into 2024, it's time to redefine our approach to career advancement, especially in the dynamic world of business analytics. The key? Strategic goal setting. This isn't just about climbing the corporate ladder; it's about making a real impact.

Align with the Company's Vision

First and foremost, understanding your company's strategic goals is crucial. Unsure of these goals? Take the initiative to ask your CFO or manager. When they inquire about your sudden interest, confidently express your desire to contribute significantly to these objectives. Your proactive approach will not only demonstrate your commitment but also provide clarity on how your role can drive the company forward.

Your Role in the Bigger Picture

As an analytics professional, your expertise in providing insightful reports and dashboards is invaluable. These tools are the compass guiding your company toward its goals. But the question is, how can you elevate your contribution? It’s time to think outside the box.

Adding Value Through Innovation

Consider how you can integrate advanced tools like AI-infused business intelligence into your work. If you're a Cognos user, spearheading an upgrade can be a game-changer for your organization. Embracing AI and its potential to optimize productivity is not just an option; it's a necessity in 2024.

SMART Goals: Your Blueprint for Success

Now, let's talk about SMART goals - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These aren't just buzzwords; they are your blueprint for success. For instance, set a goal to enhance your AI analytics skills by enrolling in three online courses in the first quarter. This goal is precise, quantifiable, realistic, aligned with your company's direction, and has a clear deadline.

"Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible." - Tony Robbins, world-renowned life and business strategist. This quote perfectly encapsulates the essence of goal setting in transforming aspirations into reality.

 The Power of Accountability

Here’s a crucial piece of the puzzle often overlooked: accountability. Finding an accountability partner within your professional network can significantly increase your chances of achieving your goals. This partnership fosters mutual support, motivation, and a sense of responsibility.

As Stephen Covey, author of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," says, "Accountability breeds response-ability." Embrace accountability as a tool for empowering yourself to take responsible actions towards your goals.

Personal and Professional Symbiosis

Remember, your professional goals should resonate with your personal aspirations. Are there other skills you're passionate about developing? For example, mastering software demos can amplify your ability to showcase your work and ideas, adding another feather to your cap.

The Journey to 2024’s Success

Imagine ending 2024, looking back at a trail of achieved goals, each marking a step towards your personal and professional growth. It's not just a possibility; it’s within your grasp. Start planning now and let 2024 be your most remarkable year yet.

 Let's Make It Happen Together

If you're ready to take this journey but unsure where to start, Lodestar Solutions is here to help. We specialize in guiding professionals like you in setting and achieving ambitious yet attainable goals. Schedule a call with us, and let’s transform your 2024 into a year of groundbreaking achievements.  Please email us at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Here's to a year of growth, success, and making a significant impact. Let's dive into 2024 with purpose and passion!

Persuading Your Executives to Adopt Analytic Solutions: Applying Pre-Suasion Principles

Persuading Your Executives to Adopt Analytic Solutions_Applying Pre Suasion Principles
Persuading Your Executives to Adopt Analytic Solutions_Applying Pre Suasion Principles
Written by Heather L. Cole, April 27th, 2023

In today's rapidly evolving business environment, the use of analytic solutions has become increasingly crucial for companies to gain a competitive edge and make data-driven decisions.  However, many companies face a significant challenge when it comes to the adoption of these solutions, as executives may not fully understand their value or be resistant to change.  As an analytic professional, it is essential to be persuasive and influential in your approach to gain the necessary support from your executives.

One approach that can help persuade your executives to adopt Analytic Solutions is applying Pre-Suasion Principles, as outlined in Dr. Robert Cialdini's book "Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade."  I have read this book many times, and believe it’s a MUST read book for all analytic professionals that want their voice heard!

In this blog, we will explore how analytic professionals can use the principles of Pre-Suasion to persuade executives to adopt analytic solutions.

Principle 1: Unity

The principle of unity emphasizes the importance of finding common ground and establishing a sense of shared identity with the person you are trying to persuade.  To apply this principle, it is crucial to understand the goals and objectives of your organization and present the benefits of analytic solutions in a way that aligns with those goals.  By highlighting the shared objectives, you can create a sense of unity and build a stronger connection with executives.

Principle 2: Similarity

The principle of similarity suggests that people are more likely to be persuaded by those whom they perceive to be similar to themselves.  As an analytic professional, you can use this principle by emphasizing your shared expertise and knowledge with the executives.  By demonstrating your understanding of the business and industry, you can build trust and establish a rapport with executives, making it easier to persuade them.

Principle 3: Familiarity

The principle of familiarity can be very effective in persuading executives.  This principle suggests that people are more likely to be persuaded by things they are familiar with.  As such, analytic professionals can leverage this principle by using case studies and success stories of companies similar to theirs that have successfully implemented analytic solutions.  By demonstrating how other companies in their industry have successfully implemented analytic solutions and the positive outcomes they have achieved, analytic professionals can build confidence in the decision to adopt these solutions.  If you are an IBM Analytics client, the IBM website has a number of customer videos and case studies.  Go to this link and scroll near the bottom.   Knowing how others in your industry have used analytic solutions like IBM Planning Analytics can help executives better understand the potential benefits of analytic solutions, as well as the challenges they may face during the adoption process.

Principle 4: Liking

The principle of liking is another important principle that analytic professionals should keep in mind when trying to persuade their executives.  This principle suggests that people are more likely to be persuaded by those they like and trust.  To apply this principle, analytic professionals should focus on building a positive relationship with executives based on trust, respect, and honesty.   The best way to build trust is start by adding a lot of value!  Here’s a link to our blog, Learn the Secrets to Massively Increase the Perceived Value of Analytics. 

By establishing a strong relationship with executives, analytic professionals can create a positive perception of themselves and their solutions, making it easier to persuade them to adopt analytic solutions.  It's also essential that they take the time to listen to executives and understand their concerns and objectives.  By doing so, analytic professionals can tailor their approach to better align with the executives' priorities and concerns.

Principle 5: Authority

The principle of authority suggests that people are more likely to be persuaded by those they perceive as credible and knowledgeable in the subject matter.  This is where analytic professionals can leverage their expertise and experience in the analytics field.  By demonstrating their authority on the subject matter, analytic professionals can build credibility and persuade executives to adopt analytic solutions.  They can also emphasize the potential competitive advantage that can be gained by adopting analytic solutions, helping to create a sense of urgency.

Principle 6: Scarcity

I believe the most important principle for analytic professionals is the principle of scarcity.  Scarcity suggests that people are more likely to desire something that is perceived to be scarce or limited.  Analytic professionals can use this principle by highlighting the potential competitive advantage that can be gained by adopting analytic solutions.  By emphasizing the scarcity of businesses that have successfully implemented analytic solutions, analytic professionals can create a sense of urgency and persuade executives to adopt analytic solutions.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, analytic professionals can use the principles of pre-suasion to effectively persuade executives to adopt analytic solutions.  By leveraging the principles of unity, similarity, familiarity, liking, authority, and scarcity, they can build a strong relationship with executives, establish credibility and expertise, and create a sense of urgency around the adoption of analytic solutions.  It's essential to understand the goals and objectives of the organization, present the benefits of analytic solutions in a way that aligns with those goals, and demonstrate their expertise and experience in the analytics field.

Adopting analytic solutions can be a challenging process, and it's essential to have the right skills and strategies to navigate these challenges successfully.  If you want to learn more about how to effectively persuade your executives, attend Lodestar Solutions' Analytic Leadership Mini-Workshop on Thursday, May 18, 2023, at 10-1:30am Eastern.   REGISTER HERE.  Or scan the code below. 

Analytic Leadership Workshop 2023

This workshop will provide you with the tools and strategies you need to become a more persuasive and influential analytic leader.  For additional events and dates go to www.lodestarsolutions.com/events.

Register now to secure your spot for the May 18th event!

Learn the Secrets to Massively Increase the Perceived Value of Analytics

Learn the Secrets to Massively Increase the Perceived Value of Analytics
Learn the Secrets to Massively Increase the Perceived Value of Analytics
Written by Heather L. Cole, April 20th 2023

Are you tired of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on software and consulting for your analytics initiatives, only to be underwhelmed by the results?  Do your end users still prefer using their old methods even after training them and going live?  It's time to change the game and massively increase the perceived value of analytics for your organization.

Many experts have expressed that a lack of a data driven, or analytics culture is the challenge.  (See Gartner blog, Create a Data Driven Culture by Influencing 3 Areas)  But really, do we need to completely change the culture to achieve results?  How long does that take?  What if there was a simple key element that increased end user adoption and success with analytics?  Learn the Secrets to Massively Increase the Perceived Value of Analytics

The Challenge

For the last month or so I have been bouncing a challenge in my head.  I know that analytics success requires cross functional teams to be open to CHANGE.  We need team members in all departments to be willing to try something new.  But all too often hard-working analytic professionals build solutions for executives and end users in various departments.  They work hard, sacrificing other initiatives and even quality time with their families to meet deadlines.  They train the end users and officially go live.   But then, they discover several end users aren’t using the solution in the way they intended.  The end users are still dumping data to Excel and using it in their old ways.  How maddening!

The Discovery

Why do end users insist on using the old methods?  Why can’t they embrace change?  Why don’t they get it?  Have you ever had a problem or challenge that rattled around in your head for weeks?  You walk the dog you think about it.  You mow the lawn you think about it.  And then one day WHAMM!  You find the answer in the most unlikely place. 

I was reading a book completely unrelated to analytics.  It was a sales book, $100M Offers: How To Make Offers So Good People Feel Stupid Saying No by Alex Hormozi and there it was…. VALUE.  In the book he discusses that people will not buy a solution if they don’t perceive the value to be great enough.  Value, Value, Value.  It bounced around in my head.

Could this be the same problem analytics professionals are facing?  The end users don’t perceive the value of analytics to be great enough.  But how is Value defined?  Is there a formula for that?

That’s when I literally stood up!  The author gave a formula for Value that is game-changing.

Dream Outcome Promised X Perceived Likelihood of Achieving the Outcome


Time to Achieve the Outcome X The Degree of Effort & Sacrifice Required

The formula bounced in my head.  I dissected the components.  On the top we have the vision or dream analytics is promising multiplied by the perceived likelihood of achieving the vision.  If your end users don’t believe your organization can achieve the vision, they will not embrace your solutions. But how do we help them believe?

Believing in Analytics

Did you know there’s a simple way to get people to believe in your initiative?  Get them involved!  A great way to do this is to host an Analytics Requirements Discovery session.   When people are given an opportunity to share their ideas and participate in the process it will significantly increase their likelihood of believing and supporting the solutions.  But most analytic professionals I have met have never been trained in facilitating analytics discovery sessions. 

The Solution

At Lodestar Solutions we created our 4-hour virtual Facilitating Planning and Analytics Requirements Discovery Workshop.   We just added two more Workshop dates to our calendar.   May 18th and June 7th from 1-5 PM Eastern.  Here’s the link to register.

In our unique workshop we discuss the primary needs of our end users and how we can better meet their needs.  We deep dive into the effort required by our end users and the sacrifices they are being asked to make so we can minimize the denominator of the formula.  If we can reduce the time, effort and sacrifice the end users perceived value will increase and so will the end user adoption…

Don't miss this opportunity to learn the secrets to massively increasing the end user's perceived value of analytics.  Register today for our workshop:

Facilitating Planning and Analytics

Requirements Discovery Workshop

May 18th or June 7th from 1-5 PM Eastern

Follow us on Linkedin and be sure to share this blog on social media and let your colleagues know how they can achieve analytics success with value.  And to see all of Lodestar's latest blog posts click here

Find More Time for Analytics Projects!

More Time for Analytics Projects
More Time for Analytics Projects
Written by Heather L. Cole, January 13th 2022

I love this week in January as I use it to reflect on what worked, what did not, and plan for the next year. How about you? Did you have an extraordinary year? Did you accomplish your goals? For me I was able to accomplish some big goals in 2021, but not all the goals were complete.  My excuse…. If I just had more time!   As I reflect on this excuse it inspired me to share secrets to Finding More Time for Analytics Projects.  But you will find these exercises help find more time for family, friends, working out… whatever your goals include.

Cutting Out Unnecessary Tasks

The first game changing exercise that I do at least every quarter and my executive coaching clients do, is to cut out the unnecessary tasks.  Simply eliminating or delegating tasks you probably should not be doing can be liberating and help you find more time for your analytics projects.  This task takes about 15 minutes. 

  • Grab a stack of sticky notes, you might want multiple colors.
  • Write down everything you are responsible for doing. One task per sticky note.

  • Yes everything, personal and professional. I use different color sticky notes for Personal items, Lodestar Solutions tasks, tasks for my coaching business, Heatherized, tasks for the Boards I am on, and the charities I work with.  

  • Now sort them into 4 piles.
  1. Things only you can do, or you love to do.
  2. Things you could hire someone to do or delegate to others.
  3. Things you can automate.
  4. Things that aren’t really that important and don’t really need to be done.

  5. You can have more piles if you want.  Don’t tell my husband but I have a separate pile for things he should do.

  • Prioritize the items in each pile.

  • Once you have your piles go through the first two piles and star those items that are Needle Moving!  Needle moving items are those that help you accomplish your goals.  They can also be the items that are more in alignment with your values and who you want to be.  I call this your aspirational self.  

    In the book, The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan the authors describe the concept of a “Focusing Question,” which is, What is the One thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?  

     You know how when you line dominos up you can hit one and they make all the others fall?  Well in your life what is one thing that if you focused on, you could personally and professionally get where you want to go faster?

Example: Goal to Get a Raise

Let’s say you want to get promoted or get a raise.  What tasks can you do to get you there faster?  Could you design a new dashboard that would provide the CFO a view of the business that can be game-changing?  If so, one task might be meet with the CFO to see what he really wants to see from his dashboard.  I would categorize this as needle moving.

For more information on this area see our blog What are You Going to Accomplish This Year? 

  • Take the delegation pile and start sending emails or delegating. 
     
    This can be as simple as calling a cleaning service to clean your house, or a lawn service to take care of your lawn.

Repeat Every Quarter!

This is not a one and done exercise.  I do this every quarter and sometimes monthly.  After I complete it, I feel like a pressure valve has been released!  More importantly I have massively freed up my calendar to focus on the important things.

Another Level of Time Recovery

Want to take this to another level of time recovery?  For one week keep a detailed calendar of where you are spending your time.  I like to use 15 minute increments.  At the end of the week look back and break the time blocks into categories, such as sales calls, compiling reports, meeting with partners…   Where are you spending your time?  And is this really a good use of time?

Time Blocking

Did you know a major time suck is switching back and forth between tasks?  For years I thought I was good at multi-tasking, but numerous studies and science tells us otherwise.  No one is efficient at multi-tasking.  Switching from task to task is a major time waster.  So, STOP DOING it!

In his book, Deep Work, Cal Newport describes Deep Work as the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task.  Unfortunately, many of us spend our time in Shallow Work, which is non-cognitively demanding, logistical-style tasks, often performed while distracted.  Newport explains that if you spend too much time doing shallow work you permanently reduce your ability to produce game-changing, needle moving work that provides great value.  He calls Deep Work the “Superpower of the 21st Century.”  To learn more about Cal Newport, check out this interview

I’ll admit, it took me a while to embrace this concept.  But when I did, BAAM!  Life changed.   Here’s the secret I use for deep work.

  • Open your calendar and look at what’s on it.  Are the important items that will move the needle to your future and where you want to go given appropriate amounts of time?  Or are you just getting to it when you get time?
  • Update your calendar with blocks of time that are dedicated to focusing on the important projects uninterrupted.  There is only one reason you get interrupted!  You let people do it!  The first step to getting seriously productive is to appreciate that time is the one resource you will never get back!  Cherish it and protect it.
  • When deep work time is scheduled turn off your phone, close your email and get to work.

When I coach clients on how to find time for their analytics project and introduce the idea of deep work for analytics, they often push back saying but you don’t understand.  I must be available.  Then I challenge them.  Is that really true?  If you put your out of office on for 3 hours with a message stating you are working on increasing your focus and productivity by working offline and would return messages in 3 hours, do you think the world would end?  Probably not.  In fact, people may just follow your lead.  Imagine if your entire analytics team were able to stop the fire fighting and start focusing on the things that matter, would you make progress?  I am certain you would.

So, you see finding time for analytics projects does not take a miracle.  It takes commitment, discipline and focusing on what really matters.  But you don’t have to go it alone!  Lodestar Solutions can help your analytics team find more time and be more productive.  Reach out to set up a complimentary chat at Services@lodestarsolutions.com.

Are You Ready To Start Raising the BAR (Business Analytics Roadmap)?

Business Analytics Roadmap
5/8/2018
Business Analytics Roadmap

Don’t know where to start in your analytics journey? Thinking about investing more money into analytics software that you’ll likely not use because no one has been properly trained on it?

Or…maybe you’ve experienced the later:

Have you invested in business intelligence solutions and not realized the benefit you were expecting?  Do your executives receive KPI’s on easy to read dashboards? Are team members receiving timely information to make strategic decisions? Do you want more productive teams?

Imagine if you had a clear vision of exactly what your executives and the various business units really need from a reporting, data and analytics perspective.  How productive would the IT team feel when the business sings their praises for delivering more than they expected?

I know you have tried working with the senior executive team to develop an analytic roadmap, but it’s difficult to get everyone to get on the same page.  Without a plan that aligns to what the organizations leadership is trying to accomplish, you’ll be fighting a losing battle.   

Raising the Bar

Lodestar’s Raising the BAR (Business Analytics Roadmap) workshops are structured to facilitate the process of defining, prioritizing, evaluating, communicating, developing, and executing your organization’s Business Analytics Roadmap.  In the Raising the BAR program we get the right people in the room to communicate the strategic initiatives and determine the path.   The outcome is to have all areas of the organization working in unison to improve performance while leveraging data and analytics to drive innovation and better decision making.  This will directly result in increased profitability. 

You can hire a large consulting firm for $100,000 to analyze your company and deliver a 120+ page document of issues you already know or hire Lodestar Solutions to coach your leadership team how to align their strategic goals with data and analytics, while building happier, more productive, self-efficient internal teams that deliver results. 

Raising the BAR’s framework to is easy to follow. One of our Sr. Business Analytics Coaches will guide you through the process of finding the path that best fits your organization’s culture and goals.  

Benefits of Coaching
  • Clear understanding of how business analytics can benefit your organization
  • Defined and focused priorities agreed to by the team; resulting in time savings and money
  • Connecting data and analytics to the strategic initiatives of the organization
  • Clearly defined business analytics roadmap to maximize your investment
  • Coaching significantly increases probability of successful solutions meeting your short and long-term needs  

BOTTOM LINE: YOU WILL SAVE TIME, MONEY AND ELIMINATE FRUSTRATION.

What is our Approach?

Business Analytics Roadmapping sessions consist of a series of short, interactive workshops. The goal of these sessions is to give you a better foundation and understanding of how business analytics can benefit your organization, evaluate how data and analytics can assist in achieving your strategic goals, create a vision of analytics, and provide an analytic roadmap for your organization. 

Our approach is simple. We follow a defined process that takes you through 5 phases of the initial BAR development.  The key to success is the executives’ and organization’s commitment to becoming an analytics driven organization.  The phases include:

A Business Analytics Overview – Establishing a definition of business analytics.  

Purpose/Outcomes – Defining the purpose and outcomes desired for analytics.

Vision Definition – Brainstorming session on all areas that could benefit from analytics.

Evaluation – Review of the feasibility and ROI of areas defined in the Vision session. Roadmap Definition – Create an agreed upon roadmap that Lodestar will formally document* for client.

What our Clients Say?

Just wanted to thank you for the workshop I attended Wednesday and Thursday.  The information was very helpful and thought provoking.  I say thought provoking because that is probably my main take-away from the workshop.  As I eluded during the workshop, I have seen and even applied most of the concepts shared (Scrum was probably the one I had the least amount of experience with, although I am familiar with it and have/do apply some of those principles as well).  

However, the big “win” is seeing all of these things again (refreshes my memory and reaffirms my belief in these techniques) and the thoughts that it provokes.  I am now well-armed and enthused to apply this (or very similar – adapted to our environment) framework here at CoreSite, thus assuring more success in the implementation and buy-in of our reporting and analytics improvement efforts.  I had a flood of ideas and follow-on actions that I took away from the workshop…so that we can truly apply these best practices and realize the value of these sorts of project/efforts.

Again, thank you very much for the course/content and your superlative presentation skills of the materials.  I was never bored and my grey matter stimulated/motivated.  Keep on doing what you’re doing.

Chris Otterson -Sr. Director – Business Operations & Continuous Improvement

Commitment

The rate of success for coaching the client dramatically increases when the client commits the right resource(s) and focus to the sessions.  This will mean access to executives to clarify the strategic initiatives and vision.   

The client must agree they want to grow and make changes in their organization. Coaching is not advice or consulting.  By entering into this relationship, the coach and the client acknowledge that the client wants to make significant progress and is dedicated to becoming an analytics driven organization.  Progress and change happen at rates that are unique to each organization and individual.  

Procedures

Coaching sessions are conducted onsite, with possible follow-up via telephone or web meeting as arranged with the Coach. It is recommended the client has a webcam to better facilitate remote discussions.  

Our Guarantee

“You get more than you pay for with Lodestar Solutions.”

If you fully participated in our program but are not satisfied with our services and the results, pay us what you feel it was worth.  We are that confident in our programs.

Interested in speaking with one of our Business Analytics Advisors to learn more about a Raising the BAR workshop? Email services@lodestarsolutions.com to schedule your consultation today!

Successful Analytics Projects Keys

3/9/2017

What are the Keys to Successful Analytics Projects?

Have your analytics projects not been as successful as you thought they would be?  Do you work with consultants and your expectations aren't being met?  Are you looking for a better way to complete your analytics projects?  There are a number of key items that can make your analytics projects a success.   These items can make you look like a rock star.  Today, we are going to start a 5 part series to show you how to realize successful analytics projects.  The first key is ownership.  

Owning Your Analytics Project

We believe in an agile methodology to implement analytics projects and a product owner is essential to the success of a project.  In the agile / scrum world, the project owner is the key stakeholder with the vision and expectations that are consistently conveyed to the scrum team.  Check out this blog on Lodestars scrum methodology, BAAM.  

However, ownership goes beyond just having a product owner.  Ownership is a mindset that should be part of every level of the project.  Every area from end users to power model builders need to have ownership in the project.   I read something once on ownership.  Ownership is not just doing the job or working the project. It means making it your mission to see it all the way to the end of the finish line and beyond.  In my mind, this means not waiting on others to address the issues or fix problems.  Ownership is looking for the issue before they become mission critical and taking the right steps to correct, even if you are at fault.  Ownership is seeking out training opportunities before the project starts and continuous learning when the project is finished.  

President Harry S Truman had a sign on that said "the buck stops here".  If you are going to own a project, consider putting the same sign on your desk because the buck should stop with you.

Part 2 of the series on the keys to successful analytics projects will talk about everyone's favorite topic, data.

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