Actionable and Predictive Team Analytics

Predictive Team AnalyticsI've been thinking a lot about the value of actionable and predictive team analytics recently and a post from Naomi Bloom struck a chord.

From her piece:

Analytics — what types of actionable, embedded, and/or predictive analytics with what types of visualizations, e.g. network analyses is becoming quite prominent when organizations try to figure out what roles and individuals have the greatest business impact? And I should emphasize here that this is about getting real insight to decision-makers in a form they can use when they’re in the middle of making that decision rather than just having a wonderful report-writer or business intelligence solution with which they can figure out the questions and search for the answers. Please note that I haven’t treated so-called “big data” as a separate topic (although everyone’s calling anything big data at the moment) because the real goal is actionable, ideally predictive, analytics, for which the management of big data is a necessary but not sufficient capabilities.

The significance of actionable and predictive team analytics cannot be understated. Tools that offer decision makers simple, actionable, valuable and consistent advice is key. Additionally, these capabilities have arguably been missing from the practice of anyone wanting to improve the engagement, well-being and performance of their staff or team members.

Predictive Team Analytics and Decision Makers

Whilst predictive team analytics offer decision makers new capabilities and ways to improve performance, it's also worth pausing to think about the decision makers themselves.

Often, the term decision maker is (understandably) associated with members of the executive team, heads of department or budget holders. In many businesses, these three roles often overlap and decisions are taken by a relatively small number of people.

While this makes sense for some decisions, when it comes to managing and working with teams, every manager and arguably every person in a team is a decision maker.

There are many examples that illustrate the role of decision making in teams. While team objectives and job roles are context specific, from a manager's perspective, answering the following questions requires performance-impacting decisions to be made:

  • If Person A joins my team, how can I integrate them and get them up to speed as quickly as possible?
  • If Person B joins my team, how can I ensure they will work well with Person C and Person D?
  • Which team member will work best with Person E and Person F on the new innovation project?
  • Of the five people working on the innovation project, who is best suited to update me on progress?
  • Person G and H are often in conflict, how can I minimise, resolve or prevent this from happening?
  • Is there a reliable method I can use to raise the level of engagement and performance for all members of my team?

The above questions are probably asked hundreds of times each day by different managers in many different businesses. The fact that gut feeling and experience are probably used as much as any tools or techniques in terms of reaching decisions illustrates the widespread impact that any tool with predictive team analytics capabilities might have.

Similar conclusions might be drawn when considering the likely questions that individual team members might ask:

  • How can I improve my relationship with my manager?
  • How can I raise my performance when working with Person 1 and Person 2?
  • How can I make communication more productive and avoid serious conflict when working with Person 3?
  • Person 4 has just joined the team and I've never met them before, what is the best way to work with them?
  • Should I tell Person 5, Person 6 or both of them about my idea?
  • What is the best way to gain the support of Person 7 for my new proposal?

As before, these individual team member questions are also likely asked numerous times each day. Given the importance of each team member to team performance and productivity, access to a tool providing predictive team analytics may well enhance people's own individual decision making when it comes to their chosen approach, attitude, engagement and performance.

The use of a predictive team analytics tool as a way of answering, or contributing towards the answers to the above questions opens up a realm of new possibilities for both managers and team members. Likewise, such a tool or approach is likely to be of interest to anyone interested in raising engagement and performance levels across all areas of an organisation.

Image credit: duchesssa

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