Why it's critical that leaders become data literate

BTD Blog Header.PNG

Data like any language is effective when others around you understand it and make decisions based on its meaning. But, data fluent doesn't mean being a data scientist. Instead it means "the ability to understand and use data effectively to inform decisions" according to Mandinach and Gummer. [1] One addition to this definition would be ability to communicate with data.

Leaders with data fluency whether team leaders, department directors, or senior executives benefit. These data fluent leaders ask questions like those below but more importantly are able to make data informed decisions.

  • What are key metrics that help me understand my customer's experience?

  • Am I hiring, rewarding, promoting and training my team members to be data fluent?

  • What data can I share with others to empower them to make the organization better?

  • Am I being a good data steward and ensuring proper data privacy and ethics are being utilized?

  • How can I use data to make our operations more efficient and effective?

  • Am I communicating with data appropriately to show the value our organization

  • What new data could I seek out or capture to bring more organizational value?

  • What percentage of employees have access to self service business intelligence and analytics and have been trained on it?

  • What metrics do we track to measure our employee experience?

  • What percentage of data we capture are we using to inform decisions?

  • I understand my NPS is in the top quartile, but what is driving this metric and what other metrics should I be monitoring to understand my customer satisfaction?

  • How are we developing new products and services based upon data from our customers?

Further, data fluent leaders are able to help their organizations have a data driven or data informed culture.  Doing so will not only lead to more fulfilling environment and to great success.

Are you a leader interested in being data fluent? Check out our Data Fluency Accelerator starting fall 2018.


[1] McAuley, D., Rahemtulla, H., Goulding, J., & Souch, C. (2014). How Open Data, data literacy and Linked Data will revolutionise higher education. Retrieved from: http://pearsonblueskies.com/ 2011/how-open-data-data-literacy-and-linked-data-will-revolutionise-higher-education/


We help high-performing individuals become champions for a more data-driven approach in their organization. We believe that data science is only part of the equation.

Getting value out of data requires building a culture that starts with YOU, is supported by executives, and trickles down to every front-line specialist in your organization.