April 28, 2016

How to Chart a Brave Path to Data-Driven

Clearhead's PSM Methodology

“It’s hard to balance that urge to just dogpile the latest thing when you’re feeling like there’s a land grab or gold rush about to happen all around you and that you might get left behind. But in the end quality wins out. Everyone will be better off if there’s laser focus on building great…products that are meaningfully differentiated.” — Ryan Block, Cofounder of Begin.com

Executives typically worry about where they are in comparison to their competition when it comes to data-driven decision making.

With 15 years of working with Fortune 500 companies and large nonprofits I firmly believe that it’s not the right place to look. Try a pivot to ask yourself the following question:

“Where are you on the journey of transforming your culture to be data-driven?”

Excitement is building around brands adopting test and learn culture. Here at Clearhead I see that spark igniting in the eyes of clients I work with weekly here in the U.S. and abroad. They are starting to see how viewing everything as an experiment really works, how there can be a unifying method to test their problems, and how those two seemingly small strategies start to drive data-driven decision making. However, as you imagine, there are some challenges.

accelerator hello.001

After four years of working across large ecommerce and direct-selling brands we’ve found you can create an optimization culture. Put simply, it requires the practice of continuously employing data to identify important problems and validate solutions hypotheses. This is not limited to your website, or with your digital products (like your store locater or the search bar on your .com). Instead we truly believe that a unifying methodology could help you solve problems all across your company. From marketing to sales conversion to customer service and beyond.

Our company was founded by three former ecommerce executives who led this change in large organizations. From this experience, and our past four years working with clients, we recently launched our Optimization Accelerator to change the way your team works. That’s what I am heading up, and it’s been no easy task.

We aim to effect overall culture, digital products, experience & business problems in our clients via tactics such as readiness evaluations, goal/problem/solution workshops, education classes, playbooks and on the ground optimization work.

accelerator hello.004

We believe that most organizations we encounter are trying too hard at the wrong things. It’s a simple mistake to spend our time further and further away from objectives and goals when we are seduced by our own ideas.

 

So how do we correct this time imbalance and align to better outcomes?

  1. We help teams set and create the right goals.
  2. We clarify your problems and readiness state that map to those goals.
  3. We align and democratize your goals, problems, solutions.
  4. We map your internal readiness journey forward to the data driven “to be state.”
  5. We go hands on to help validate hypothesis we have created together.

The Clearhead Optimization Accelerator is typically a 8-10 week program that involves multiple executives and managers. By the end, we ignite the spark of true, tested and validated learning and innovation within your business.  

“That’s great, David. But what does my business get out of it?  What are my outcomes?”

  • A clear path forward for testing changes in your company that map back to problems that obstruct test & learn.
  • A radically energized product, design, and customer experience team. A fire ignited for other teams.
  • A team that can actualize the overall goals/objectives of the company and is not paralyzed by them any longer.
  • A team that starts to map, prioritize, and solve for real problems with real solutions based on customer feedback.
  • A team that practices a true test and learn culture.

So why do people continue to skip right to solutions instead of examining the problems?

My hypothesis is it’s because true culture change is difficult. It involves time, education, process change, and communication. It’s the stuff no one talks about.  And because nobody talks about in the trenches culture change, nobody else learns from the mistakes. As they say, if we don’t learn from history, it’s destined to repeat itself.

The real question is, as an executive, are you ready to break this cycle? Are you ready to not just propagate more ideas but change the system to solve the real problems for real outcomes?

What do you think?

Thank you for reading!

David J. Neff | @daveiam | @Clearheadme