The Big Data era has carved out its groove and is here to stay. But for some reason, executives continue to feel pushback from skeptical managers who are reluctant to incorporate data systems into their decision-making processes.

The most agile companies employ analytics to drive strategic decisions, and organizations that refuse to adopt a data mindset will rapidly fall behind.

Whether managers are afraid of being replaced by machines or are just plain lazy, modern businesses simply cannot survive without collecting and analyzing data.

As the head of your company, it’s your duty to create a data-driven culture that empowers, rather than alienates, your management team.

Overcoming the objections

Some managers scoff at Big Data and think their years of hard-won experience trump mathematical models, while others view data as a crutch that weak leaders rely on when they can’t come to their own conclusions. Some managers, on the other hand, just simply don’t want to add what they see as an extra time-consuming step to their decision-making process.

Help your managers overcome these misconceptions by showing them how data enhances, rather than replaces, their performance. Display how data works in concert with their already capable analytical skills by double-checking their instincts against the numbers. And debunk their time-consuming complaints by showing them how analytics systems are easier than ever to utilize and provide leaders with real-time data in an organized, efficient format.

Data empowers department heads to adapt on the fly and quickly respond to dips in sales or engagement based on numeric trends and insights. Your leadership staff can create powerful predictive models that will immensely help your teams improve their processes, hit more targets and ultimately make more money.

Putting data in your DNA

A data-centric culture isn’t possible unless the entire executive suite buys in. Bad things happen when only a handful of people are making well-informed decisions. Once everyone at the top is on board, it’s time to convert the rest of the crew.

These three strategies will help you incorporate a data mindset into every level of your company:

  1. Incentivize data. Tying tangible employee bonuses and raises to data adoption will get employees looking for more opportunities to use data on a regular basis. In performance reviews, ask them how they’ve recently used data to make better decisions for their departments or customers. Reward them accordingly.
  2. Lead by example. Send out regular email blasts that detail trends and efficiencies you’ve uncovered through your use of data. Show your employees how they can use those trends in their daily work, and encourage them to find their own.
  3. Be transparent. Also openly discuss every negative trend you’ve uncovered through data analysis. The more your team understands data’s role in day-to-day operations, the more you’ll see a cultural shift toward regular data usage across departments.

Big Data supports clear, adaptable, logical and future-minded thinking, and the ideal data-driven environment strikes a balance between human and non-human input. In fact, proper data analysis often requires a human perspective to determine whether you’re drawing valid conclusions. Your managers know the stories the data doesn’t tell.

Make sure you tell your managers that data analysis will not replace them; it will just make them better.