Is your company insight-oriented? A preliminary assessmentby
In this extract from The Insight Discipline by Liam Fahey, the author shares a set of questions that will help organisations determine how insight-oriented they are.
Is your organisation insight-oriented?
Although your organisation no doubt conducts analysis across all functional areas and hierarchy levels related to many facets of marketplace and organisation change, the answer to the question may be unclear. Your answers to the key questions posed below will help you determine whether and to what extent your organisation (or your segment of it) focuses on insight and not just analysis.
Each question emphasises an element of the deliberations and methods that determine how far down the road your organisation has traveled (or must travel) in its quest to move beyond analysis to the land of insight.
Key question: Is there a shared understanding of insight among key individuals, teams, and functions?
- Do key professionals and decision-makers know the attributes of a “quality” insight (as opposed to an unvetted insight)?
- Are they aware of the different levels of insight (domain, competitive space, generic marketplace, and implication insights)?
Key question: Is a specific individual or group charged with integrating insights across (insight) domains and levels?
- Is a specific individual or team responsible for crafting and testing insights in key functional areas/units?
- Is a team designated to synthesise insights crafted across functional teams/units?
Key question: Are insights integrated into decision-making?
- Are insights used to frame (and reframe) decisions?
- Are decisions tested against insights?
- Are potential decisions used to determine relevant insight projects?
Key question: Is insight a focus of managers’/executives’ attention?
- Do they ask that insights be an output of key analysis projects?
- Do they initiate dialogue about a change insight’s implications?
- Do they typically raise insight questions in key meetings?
Key question: Is insight a required output in most types of analysis?
- Is insight a standard output in “analytics” work?
- Is insight a routine output in analysis conducted by key groups (e.g., marketing and operations)?
Key question: Is insight a focus of deliberations in meetings?
- Do meetings distinguish between findings and insight?
- Is insight a required part of analysis presentations?
- Is there discussion around the validity of insights?
Key question: Are efforts made to “structure” an analysis context (to enhance the likelihood of insight)?
- Are different types of data and data sources sought?
- Are multiple analysis frames used to generate alternative outputs?
- Is the perspective of different stakeholders brought to bear?
- Are the participants encouraged to use their imagination to “see” differently?
Key question: Is there an established method (set of analysis protocols) to get from data to some form of insight?
- Has the organisation developed a broad set of analysis protocols to identify relevant data and indicators, to transform indicators into inferences, and inferences into insights?
- Has the team been trained in how to use the protocols?
Key question: Are suggested insights subjected to stringent vetting and validating?
- Are formal analysis steps used to critique proposed insights before they’re accepted for decision-making purposes?
- Are “accepted” insights assessed for their potential decision value?
Key question: Are implication insights developed as a routine analysis output?
- Do analysis teams develop implication insights (high-level business consequences) before determining specific business implications?
- Are implication insights then used as a critical input to determining strategy, operations, and organization implications?
Key question: Are specific processes in place to monitor and validate insights over time?
- Are indicators specific to each change insight identified for purposes of monitoring whether the insight remains valid over time?
- Is someone charged with monitoring the indicators and assessing whether individual insights need to be amended or discarded?
Each of these questions is addressed in detail in The Insight Discipline by Liam Fahey.
Dr. Liam Fahey is Cofounder and Partner in Leadership Forum, and the creator and leader of its Intelligence Leadership Forum.
He has been a faculty member at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management and Boston University, and he now serves as Professor of Management Practice at Babson...