There seems to be a lot of buzz in the news about CEOs not harnessing the power of big data. In a global survey of 362 executives conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, data driven organizations appear to function differently. It starts at the top with a clear vision to adopt data and facts, beyond the usual financial data.

We’ve been using data driven goal setting within our leadership development program at Mission Critical Teams since 2007. With any of the teams we work with, one of our first steps is to ensure that leadership has made an annual plan based on the top 10 goals for the next 12 months. Then every month, the team sets additional goals towards advancing their annual plans based on data we have extrapolated from each month’s progress. By maintaining data driven goals and action steps each month, leadership is able to keep the most important data front and center as decisions are being made on direction, profitability, expansion, etc. They are also more easily able to course correct should steps toward a goal be unsuccessful.

When considering the use of critical information beyond just financials in your goal setting and in measuring the success of your leadership team, consider the 3Ds used by Mission Critical Teams –  Data, Dialogue and Discipline:

Data— Performance and actions are tracked and made visible and tell a more powerful story than numeri/financial data alone,  By scoring monthly plans with our online tracking software, the performance gap is immediately apparent..

Dialogue—Monthly review sessions generate and continue meaningful and engaging dialogue about the important components of the organization and the marketplace that impact the way the team thinks and works together.

Discipline— Regular meetings and reviews set a rhythm and provide structure.  Individuals are held accountable for their promises and progress on a regular basis. Remind your team members that while it may be easy to forego a monthly meeting in favor fighting fires, the time set aside for these strategic conversations will impact both short term and long term vision and health of the organization.

Big data is not a new concept when growing teams and leadership for successful organizations. We just use it in a simple, impactful way to keep the most important initiatives front and center. Better knowledge-sharing, out performance of previous efforts, and a culture of accountability and innovation are the rewards of data-driven organizations.

How often are you using data and facts not found on your financials to make decisions within your organization?