As a guy that does gravitate to formulas, processes and repeatable management disciplines, this essay has been brewing for a while. A few weeks ago, I had a great conversation with a young friend who was interviewing for a number of very different roles. In that conversation, we focused in on the fact that while the roles were very different (one in a small non-profit, one in a large ad agency), the actual â€œfoundational workâ€ of the roles had some clear similarities and those common ideas triggered this essay. Regardless of your role, or nature of the organization where you work, these simple ideas or process steps are incredibly common and deeply important in order to drive successful sustainable results.
The foundational formula/process/discipline is made up of a set of actions that are done in sequence, and follow the path of:
Noun: facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis:
The first step is always to dig into the dataâ€¦. and never get tired or bored, it always worth it! I for example pull together a weekly performance dashboard for my leadership team, and rather than have someone in IT or finance pull it for me, I take an hour every Monday digging into last weeks results and building the dashboard myself. I find that weekly process so helpful and EVERY WEEK I find little nuggets of trends, aberrations and surprises that allow me to understand where we are as a business and what actions we need to take going forward. This first step, all about the data, is a step EVERYONE should do! Don’t let a fear of Math, or a lack of formal â€œdata analytics trainingâ€ stop you from diving inâ€¦. a vital and REQUIRED first step in this â€œfoundational formula!â€
Noun: facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject
By taking the step above and consistently digging into the data, we can gain knowledge and a deeper â€œunderstanding of a subject.â€ Data on itsâ€™ own is relatively inert. The purpose of the data dig â€œexperienceâ€ is to gain understanding and build knowledge over time so you â€œconvertâ€ the data into actionable insights.
Noun: a deep understanding of a person or thing
Having a â€œdeep understandingâ€ of the work at hand is the big part of finding success. While this evolves over time, the process steps reviewed above allow you to always be updating YOUR â€œdeep understandingâ€ of the business and will push you to take those thoughts/ideas and translate them into action!
Noun: the fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim
Take action, its time to have an impact! Don’t let the D->K->I phase lull you into passivity or inactivity. This whole â€œfoundational formula/processâ€ is about taking thoughtful action in the marketplace and the â€œfirst Aâ€ is vital. This step takes insights (mentioned above) AND COURAGE. Step out there, make your recommendation be heard and drive to action!
Noun: evaluate or estimate the nature, ability, or quality of
With the â€œActionâ€ step fully in-place, lets make sure we are ready to â€œevaluateâ€ and learn from the â€œActionâ€ deployed. We can never learn enough, but too many skip this step entirely. The amount of work to get the â€œActionâ€ deployed is often so significant, many â€œrun out of gasâ€ at this step and lose energy to â€œevaluateâ€ the impact/costs/ROI/etc. of the â€œActionâ€ and fail to glean very available and much needed additional â€œDataâ€ to help this process strengthen over time. Many of you have read my essay on the â€œCurbside Debriefâ€ https://fylegacy.blogspot.com/2014/02/selling-curbside-debrief.html
This tool is a handy way to ALWAYS take a step to â€œAssessâ€ or learn after every significant â€œAction.â€
Noun: give one’s full attention to a task; work hard, administer
This final step as another call to turn learnings into â€œAction.â€ If you have â€œAssessedâ€ the impact of â€œAction,â€ once again don’t get passive! Turn those ideas or approaches into immediate improvement plans and deployâ€¦. No need to wait and start the process again, dive in and â€œApplyâ€ those learnings and drive success!
Well there you go, the simple ( and vital) D->K->I->A/A/A model. I hope you can use it in your work, whatever the organization / industry and let it have a positive impact of the challenges of the moment, and help you be more successful with your challenges/opportunities over time!