As a New Manager Do You Understand Your Data Analytics?
How Will You Communicate with Your Data Analytics as a New Manager?
Too many times as a new manager or even as seasoned executives we get caught up in our mounds of impressive data to the point where it paralyzes us.
Most managers have been there at some point. Particularly when you finally break into a new manager role, you can feel overwhelmed with the amounts of data at your disposal.
If you are not careful, you will be a fired new manager pretty soon.
Too Much Data To Handle
You are given access to all of this…stuff, and not quite sure what you are looking at. Sometimes you are fortunate enough to have a mentor or peer show you the ropes on what you need. From personal experience, though, be careful.
Some managers are too data driven.
They can show you all of the numbers and still have an under-performing team.
My first corporate team that is exactly what happened to me. The manager I was taking over for was, fortunately, very gracious even in the face of being replaced by the new guy. The team was under-performing for months.
When we sat down, they could tell me everything from the time employees scanned their key-cards to enter the building, to the time they clocked out for the day. There sales analytics data was spot on.
I could clearly see the potential bottlenecks, and this soon to be replaced manager could clearly explain what I was missing.
After two days of looking at spreadsheets and flowcharts, I was done! Out of two days of this outstanding data and analytics, I recognized two reports that I wanted immediately, the rest, junk it.
I figured the team had already had this data and these reports pushed on them enough, and I was there for a reason. It was not to repeat a failed process but to try and get the best out of the group that was going to remain.
To be fair, did I need some of the additional data for my superiors? Of course I did, but what did my team need to know that for?
It made very little impact on their day-to-day activities. That additional “stuff” was my burden, not theirs.
I felt that I immediately needed to figure out what I was going to communicate to the team on the simplest level to make their jobs easier.
My decision was only to show the team data that affected them on a broad level in team meetings, then break that down to individual sizes for one-in-ones and coaching sessions.
Sounds simple, but again, having seen it play out in other companies over the years, it appears not to be that simple for some.
If you have been around the block even once, you realize that some managers are put in position because of their personal performance, not necessarily their ability to communicate and lead a team.
I’m not here to knock hiring practices; however, I do want to point out that as a new manager, it’s okay to ask for help.
As the leader of that new manager, it’s okay to sit down with them and start the development of a new skillset.
That is the ability to communicate the right data and analytics to the right audience.
What Should I Do?
If you are not receiving this leadership and guidance as
Depending on the work culture, this may not be easy to do.
I remember vividly asking for help from my boss and their answer was, “I hired you to know that.”
Thanks boss…no crap. But guess what, I don’t know it and I’m asking for help.
My suggestion then is to find a mentor.
I fortunately lucked into one on my first day. I remember we briefly talked in passing and I did not even think he remembered my name.
My first day in my new chair, he came over, and took me out to lunch. During lunch I mentioned all the spreadsheets.
He laughed and told me, “Dump that crap. (Person X), got fired because they couldn’t talk intelligently to the numbers. I’ll show you.”
We go back to the office, he takes the next 30 minutes and shows me what I actually need and then told me to go figure out my “why.”
So what would I tell you to do?
Figure out first what story you want to tell and why.
For example, with our company we focus on the marketing and sales analytics data during the lead generation phase through the end of the sale or appointment setting process; however, at the end of the day, who cares if you are unable to communicate your findings effectively.
A framework that we followed and that I still suggest today are as follows:
- What am I trying to solve?
- What outcome am I looking for?
- How well do I understand the issue (Marketing ROI, Sales Process, etc.)?
- What data do my systems provide?
- What are the solution and implementation plans?
Now, we can figure out what story we need to tell either up the chain-of-command our down to our teams. These stories may have similar qualities, but they will rarely sound identical.
The simplest way I can explain this is that your team will need to know what’s in it for them so that you can make a real difference and change in culture and performance.
Next, figure out what your boss needs and wants. Two different things here.
My boss may need a specific report every Friday at 9 am.
They may want me to provide data supporting them and their current role. Here’s what I mean.
As a new manager, you have to remember that leadership may need to know what decisions they can make based on what you are presenting.
Those can be hiring decisions, RIF’s (reductions in force), expanding marketing budgets, etc.
You must become well versed in communicating these data points and analytics reports to two different audiences at a minimum.
Whether it’s your job to crunch the numbers or not, you must be able to tell a coherent story based on the numbers and what it means for your team’s productivity and health of your company.
Know Your Available Tools
You must know the tools available to you as a new manager.
Again, find a mentor.
Even if you are using the same CRM, you will quickly find that the manager function will give you spreadsheet upon spreadsheet that you did not have access to previously.
Word of advice for you new managers though.
If your mentor says they don’t use the data or analytics available to them…find another mentor.
Data and analytics are not the end all be all of management, but if you don’t know where your numbers are and how that relates to you and your team’s performance, you will be in another role soon, the former manager role.
Become well versed in how to access the data available. This does not mean use all of it, but at least know where to go.