Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Influencing Skills- Mastering Data Presentation

Yesterday  I mentioned the use of data and its importance as an influencing skill.  Data presentation is such a big area it seems insufficient to merely mention it as a four line entry as one of the influencing skills.

Some of the basics need to be learned in university or formal training environments.  Data visualization tools...pie charts, bar charts, bubble charts, trend analysis over differing time periods, the use of scale to make a point, 3-D imaging, animation...all can be used to make certain points.  Also, a solid understanding of probability and statistics is a necessity...especially in manufacturing or engineering intensive industries.  Total Quality management(TQM) which has as its focus continuous process improvement and Six Sigma which focuses on eliminating errors/defects and minimizing variability both rely heavily on statistical analysis.  One simply cannot be a successful leader in one of those environments without mastering statistical analysis.

In many cases the leader won't be the person who gathers the data or creates the presentation of the data...it will be a member of her staff.  It's important that the leader provide guidance in the following areas:
  • Define what is relevant to the audience.
  • Provide guidance on where to find the relevant data. This often isn't easy in global companies.  IT systems that have been developed independently often don't "talk' to each other.  In addition, there are often a data quality issues due to variability in data entry processes.
  • Determine how often the data needs to be updated. Is the data current enough for the situation?
  • Determine when and how often the audience needs to see the data
  • Use appropriate analysis, grouping, visualization, and other presentation formats.  This is again a non-trivial task and leads into the entire field of management information systems.
  • Create an effective delivery mechanism for the audience.  The audience location(co-located or distributed) and access to technology are important drivers.

  • It's hard to imagine a successful leader in any environment....business, government or military....... who hasn't mastered the ability to effectively present data-driven points of view.

    1 comment:

    1. Excellent blog you have got here. It's hard to find quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate individuals like you! influence skills training