Improve Collaboration at Your Company — Unite Everyone Around Data

Written by Indicative Team


A record number of people are working from home.  

“We are actually dealing with the overlap of three linked crises,” says Brad Feld on his blog.  

  • Economic: record unemployment, unpredictable financial markets
  • Physical health: lack of access to healthcare due to overrun systems
  • Mental health: spike in calls to crisis lines

Everyone on your team has personal responsibilities beyond their jobs. If they’re parents, they’ve likely become full-time caretakers to their children. They might also be navigating a spouse’s unemployment or a family member’s illness.

“Fatigue, fear, and panic undermine our ability to think clearly and creatively, manage our relationships effectively, focus attention on the right priorities, and make smart, informed choices,” writes Tony Schwartz, president and CEO of The Energy Project for Harvard Business Review

One way that companies can respond is to make their employees’ jobs easier. 

Get more done, work less hard

Forecasts are predicting a 7% reduction in the total number of working hours in Q2 2020, which is equivalent to a reduction of 195M workers. In 2020, every company needs to find ways to help employees become more productive. But how?

The solution is to stop wasting people’s time.

As of late 2019, 67% of workers say that excessive meetings are preventing them from getting their best work done.

“Too often, the answer to any work issue is ’let’s meet,″ says Cathi Rittelmann, a senior partner at consulting firm Korn Ferry — the company that conducted this survey. 

There are a few reasons why:

  • Fear of making mistakes
  • Absence of information
  • The need to get many people on the same page
  • Lack of confidence
  • Uncertainty of judgment calls

When these patterns become the norm at a company, so do unnecessary meetings. Instead of collaborating, strategizing, and solving problems, people waste time getting unstuck. This challenge has the potential to amplify in a setting where your colleagues aren’t next to you. Rather than increase meetings, encourage effective decision-making. Data access is key.

What exactly is a data-driven culture?

Instead of relying on intuition, you have access to analytics-driven from a single source of truth. The goal is to remove subjective bias from decision-making. 

“Bias creeps in before people even realize what’s happening,” explains Kayla Matthews, a tech and productivity writer in an article for Towards Data Science

With a data-driven culture, the goal is to establish a shared understanding. Everyone has access to the same information, which creates an opportunity for healthy debate and discussion. 

Data is “the universal basis for decision making,” according to an article in Harvard Business Review. Thoughtful decisions form the backbone of the most resilient, healthy companies.

So how do you build it?

Your data is only as valuable as it is useful. For that reason, it’s important to think of your analytics strategy from a product/market fit perspective. Your product is your analytics strategy. Your “market” for this analytics strategy is your internal team. 

So what is the product/market fit of your data-driven culture? 

To answer this question, start with the big picture. The people throughout your company are all working together to build a sustainable business.  To do this, your analytics strategy needs to:

  1. Connect everyone at your company around a shared basis for understanding and a single source of data
  2. Uncover stories that enable forward momentum
  3. Help teams adapt to changes in the market
  4. Empower people with a shared language to guide communication
  5. Surface stories that matter to your business’s future

The value of your data depends on the stories that matter most to your business’s growth — and whether people understand these stories and feel empowered to navigate mission-critical questions. 

Simple steps to get started

There are a few simple steps that your company can take to become data-driven. The process begins with asking questions of their data without needing technical skills or support. Here are a few that Indicative recommends:

  • To what extent are meetings adding value? If you’re a manager, conduct an analysis of time spent in meetings over the last quarter. Gain an understanding of where people may be running into roadblocks and whether challenges could have been avoidable. You might consider creating a survey that asks people to share how they are spending their meeting time. 
  • What does data usage look like on my team? Work with your data analytics team to conduct an analysis of the reports people are running. Are any of these possible to automate? Should more people be sharing these throughout the company? Gain an understanding of how people are using data today.
  • What information gaps need bridging at my company? Run a gap analysis to understand how people at your company are relying on data right now and what’s missing. What decisions are your analytics informing, and what details do people wish that they had?
  • Are our analytics supporting our user journeys? Your business is built around the needs of your customers. To what extent is your data helping you understand your target audiences’ perspectives? Your team’s lives become easier when you understand your customers’ lives.

Final thoughts: make adoption easy

Above all, the last thing you want to do is create more cognitive overhead for the people at your company. 

“Thanks to the plethora of technologies that keep us connected, increasingly integrated global operations, and the need for a multidisciplinary approach to deploying complex products and services, the problem has snowballed over the past decade, with collaborative time demands rising more than 50%,” explains a recent report published in MIT Sloan’s Management Review.

“Most knowledge workers and leaders spend 85% or more of their time on email, in meetings, and on the phone. Employees struggle with increases in email volume, the proliferation of new collaborative tools, and expectations of fast replies to messages — with deleterious effects on their quality of work and efficiency.”

Your analytics need to be easy to interpret and navigate. Especially now, nobody has time to waste. Everyone needs to be more impactful with their contributions, with less effort and in less time.

Indicative can help.