How Big Data Is Impacting Leadership
The rapid changes in digital technology have had a huge impact on how organisations compete and operate, and at the forefront of all these digital changes is big data. Big data refers to the large and disparate volumes of data created by people, tools, and machines at an ever-increasing rate. Because of its sheer size, it requires advanced software technology for its collection and analysis.
Today, nearly all leading brands state that they are striving to become data-driven in their analysis and thinking. In fact, Forbes reports how big data adoption by companies has soared to 59% last year, showing just how much companies see the value of data in business. That's because big data analytics helps businesses improve customer service, marketing strategies, and overall business operations — which all just goes to show that the positive impact that big data has on industries is undeniable.
As more and more companies turn to big data and analytics, the demand for leaders who can adapt to and utilise big data increases. It has become apparent now, more than ever, that for leaders to excel and get ahead of the competition, they need to start embracing big data. But how does big data actually impact leadership?
The ability to communicate well is one of the necessary skills a person needs to become an effective leader. It’s essential to forming and maintaining valuable relationships within the company. And leaders of today must be able to analyse big data for a more effective way to communicate to the different teams within and outside the organisation. Their interpretation of the large data acquired within the business will allow them to gain flexibility and adapt better to the needs of the company and its team. It will also help with creating new strategies to keep everyone motivated and engaged.
Though intuition is highly favoured among leaders, it can only take you so far. Dr Stephen Gerras observed in his work that many leaders are subject to several biases that may lead them to the wrong solutions. This shows that relying on intuition or “gut” is not enough for leaders when it comes to decision-making. Having data and appropriate analytics will allow leaders to make fact-based decisions rather than emotion or belief-driven ones. But not only that, Ayima points out that data can give anyone the confidence to make big decisions, something that's vital in leadership roles and across all company departments. It mitigates any risks and gives leaders an easier time to isolate the root of any specific problem. Leaders must know the data they need in order to make good strategic and operational decisions.
Now that we are in a data-driven world, agility is a must for effective leadership. Big data can help leaders become more agile by helping them identify insights that can aid in faster decision-making and responsiveness. With data analytics, it would be easier for leaders to break down larger challenges or questions into smaller, more manageable chunks, so that the whole organisation can respond faster. In addition, better agility also leads to better time management, which our own Jack Nodding notes is an important part of work-life balance. Big data helps not only leaders but also their teams to take effective actions faster for more efficient operation.
For those who have not yet dived into big data, data analytics may seem daunting, but as mentioned above, its positive impact is undeniable. Leaders of today should use big data to add value wherever possible — whether it be within the organisation or to their own career growth.