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The Power of Data in Leadership Development

October 24, 2012

According to a recent story by Thomas H. Davenport and D.J. Patil on titled Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century, “Data scientists are the key to realizing the opportunities presented by big data. They bring structure to it, find compelling patterns in it, and advise executives on the implications for products, processes, and decisions. They find the story buried in the data and communicate it. And they don’t just deliver reports: They get at the questions at the heart of problems and devise creative approaches to them.” Click here to read the whole story.

This story has Linkage consultant/metrics maven Jill Ihsanullah, Ph.D. thinking about the power of metrics and data in leadership development.

“There is a tremendous opportunity for data scientists and those leading them to identify not just external market ideas, but internal talent questions as well,” she says. “From a talent pool perspective, developing concrete talent measures to determine what’s working now, and how it can be replicated, is critical. Measuring the impact of innovation practices, culture efforts, senior executive behaviors, and leadership development initiatives on business results is also critical in determining if strategy is really being driven throughout the organization. And of utmost importance for data scientists, if measures don’t exist yet, what can we do to develop them? Anything can be measured, and the better we are at measuring talent, the better we can develop leadership practices that deliver real results.

“At Linkage, we’ve found in studying the return on leadership development practices, that American companies are not able to produce the kind of “people data” that is available at peer companies in other parts of the world, and that puts those companies at a competitive disadvantage. Being able to produce and understand “people data” is growing as the field of data science emerges, and understanding people metrics and measures is an increasingly important leadership skill.”

Are you swimming in talent data? Or worse, making the wrong talent decisions because you don’t know how to analyze the data you’re swimming in? Or even worse still, are you, your boss, or your organization disregarding talent metrics all together?

More about Jill

Jill Ihsanullah, Ph.D. is a Linkage consultant and an industrial/organizational psychologist with over twenty years of consulting experience. She is an expert in assessment and measurement and has served as the director of one of Linkage’s most successful consulting groups, where her work focused on leadership and large-scale organizational change.


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