How does our organization stop being data illiterate?

Caleb Walker - July 26, 2020

Run a Standard First Aid Course!
Are these questions common in your organization?
- We need to have an introductory data course...available for everybody?
- Before we start teaching, we need to explain to people why analytics is valuable
- We need common jargon when it comes to data

A larger question for this data illiterate organization would be - What happened? They probably do not know the answer to that question. The goal would be moving from descriptive to advanced analytics. If your organization is data literate, you want to be able to answer the question - What is the best that could happen? Obviously, that is where you want to be.

Does your organization know what happened? Imagine if you knew the best thing that could happen and how to get there? Data training is critical for that understanding.

For organizations that are just starting their data and automation journeys, you want to know - What happened? WYWM's Adam Renfree has outstanding material on change management, but to get us started we need to first initialize (establish capacity), then industrialize (replicate & ramp up) and finally institutionalize (deliver differentiated performance). We can use the Automation Maturity Model as an example.

The long journey - we will just start at the initialize

Assuming your organization has woken-up with an epic hangover and knows 'it has a problem'. It might have sat down and made a vision of where it needs to go. It has a governance board and support model to move towards that vision. If you have that, the next thing you need, is to establish capacity. You need to develop a standardized approach to training, for the broad user community, that enhances the knowledge base. You need a Standard First Aid course. Most organizations in the world use the St. John Ambulance Standard First Aid Course. In Canada, it is recognized as the leader by the Minister of Labour. If someone is having a heart attack - in any organization - you need to reduce confusion, speak the same language and react accordingly.

Selling the importance of Standard First Aid training to organizations is not too hard. There are always individuals that try to skip it, but an organization with more than 20 people has to do it. During the first day of training, it is easy to get interested. Want to save people from heart attacks? Want to reduce workplace deaths and injury? People tend to focus. They are the first response to the incident. They need to know what they are doing. The best surgeon in the world can't save a victim of a heart attack if the first response was disorganized, confusing and made matters worst.

You need to start looking at data literacy in the same light. You need to show how to react to heart attacks. What happened? Why? What will happen? And hopefully, what is the best that could happen? We need an introduction course to make sure everyone is speaking the same jargon. That way when data travels into your organization, you know how to react accordingly. Artificial Intelligence - like the surgeon - will not solve this problem.

Luckily WYWM provides this training and it is free for veterans, still serving members and military spouses. Want a data literate 'first aid instructor'? Hire a veteran, get them to do the free training and leverage their leadership and team skills to develop a standardized approach to training in your organization. Another option, get WYWM, filled with veterans, to train your staff directly.

Organizations will need to start looking at data as a need, not an opportunity - and they better start investing in their people now. Run a Standard First Aid Course!


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