Sunday, August 08, 2010

Level Up Your Leadership Style

nsmb-mushroom-super One of the better books about Business intelligence that I read recently was Cindi Howson’s “Successful Business Intelligence - Secrets to Making BI a Killer App”.  One chapter focusing on the organization required for a BI program referred to the concept of Level 5 leadership.  For those of you that have read “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, you are familiar with this concept, but in short Level 5 leaders are:

“Leaders who blend personal humility with intense professional will to focus not on their personal gain, but rather, on ensuring the success of the company.”

In my experience, leaders of BI organizations have a huge number of stakeholders across different areas of the business.  It constantly amazes me how many people I know across the organization due to the interactions of my role and team.  When you are in this type of situation you are constantly learning and having to rely on the individuals in the business to provide their expertise to solve their BI questions.  As a leader of a BI team you must foster an environment of collaboration and partnership across many different areas of the business.  You certainly can’t do it on your own, and you need to bring together the right people to make it happen.

Building a BI program is darn hard!  It is a long and difficult journey to move from a pre-BI environment with no tools or quality data through to a fully mature environment that provides predictive capabilities and is tightly integrated with corporate performance management.  Along the way your program will meet with many challenges and hurdles to overcome.  It takes long term commitment and a vision for the future to stick with it and make it happen.

It is essential that you have the right leadership to champion your Business Intelligence efforts.  Take stock of your own leadership abilities and those of your team before you embark on your journey.


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