Want to make yourself indispensible, be the go-to person, and be invited to the important meetings? Want to stand out as one who is cool, calm, connected, and clued in? Analytics can be the key to your career success, provided you use them with caution, care, and finesse.
Using analytics to prove a point is a time-honored tradition. But if you want to be what Seth Godin calls a “linchpin” in his new book by the same name, just remember that it’s all about your boss’s boss.
In the summer of 2009, I invited the smartest people I know to a pre-conference workshop called the eMetrics Analysis Symposium. A dozen people were asked to explain the nature of analysis – not the data, not the tools, but that certain something the human brings to the table. The result was 101 Things You Should Know; and on this flight to give my keynote at SES London, it came to me to provide a little more detail to eMetrics Analysis Symposium No. 31:
If you can figure out what report will help make your boss’s boss look good by making better decisions, you have gone from being valuable to being indispensible.
This was foreshadowed in No. 19:
Insights are most valuable if they help an individual get recognition, a raise and/or a promotion. Otherwise, that insight might never be put to use.
It may be politics 101, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. If it were, I would still have a job. As it is, I have been gainfully unemployed since 1993 because I didn’t know, nor would I have understood, the unspoken part of the above:
Make your boss’s boss look good and make sure your boss gets the credit.
Had I only known that the secret to enterprise success was to be bold enough to ask my boss’s boss how he/she earned his or her bonus. That’s the secret. Start there.
If your boss’s boss gets a bonus for sales, calculate the keywords, count the clicks, and try multivariate testing to make more sales. If that bonus is predicated on profitability, count the costs as much as the commerce. If the purchase of their vacation home is based on customer satisfaction scores, make sure affinity, contentment, and Net Promoter numbers show up on your dashboards.
Once you bend the numbers to your will on behalf of senior management, you will gain the respect, the camaraderie, and the dependency of those superior to you in position if not in intellect or humanity.
You may see their stated goals as inappropriate. You may feel their objectives may be misguided. But once you embrace their success as your own, you will rise to the top like cream and finally be in a position to set the goals of others – the proper goals, the important goals, and the righteous goals.
When you do, and you come across an underling who can and will help you analyze Web data, customer satisfaction data, and sales data to help you earn your bonus, please give that person a raise and a promotion. You won’t be sorry.