Team Development for Analytics Leaders


by Alex White

Senior Partner, Talent & Research 5th Jan 2017

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Alex White is the founding partner at Avellio. He is an industry experienced former analyst, and has led over 120 retained search assignments for data science leaders, with mandates entrusted by leading global investment banks, major retailers and analytics consultancies.

The search for experienced analytics leaders is heating up as quantitative initiatives start to gather momentum. With the executive team keeping a firm watch on ROI how can you ensure that you are leading your team optimally?

As the head of your team many wider factors are beyond your control, such as the economy, budgetary constraints, and clients pulling out of agreements – but the one aspect that you can have influence and control over is how you manage and support your team to set them up for success, even in the face of uncertainty.

Establish Team Objectives

When managing a team, its important to ask yourself: What is the set, measurable goal that determines my team’s success? By answering this question you can start to evaluate your team’s performance against this goal.

In your role as analytics manager its useful to consider aspects like quantitative results vs. insights vs. recommendations, as well as who or what function your team is supporting. Are you only accountable for delivering the results of your models? Or do you need to provide concrete suggestions for business improvements? Is your focus on reducing cost by X%? Or is it to help to increase revenue through the use of data? Can you establish your own targets, or are you supporting marketing or sales objectives?

Measure Your Team’s Performance

We have provided a useful checklist to aid team leaders with the a checklist for evaluating and maximising team effectiveness:

  1. Have you made your expectations clear to each team member in terms of what they are tasked with working on and achieving?
  2. Is there a clearly determined path leading to results?
  3. Are there established opportunities for short terms goals and incremental wins?
  4. Is your team prepared in order to anticipate, manage, and mitigate risks?
  5. Do you have a clear, open and honest channel of communication with team members?
  6. Does the team effectively reward and celebrate success?
  7. How well does the team pick up and move forward after experiencing setbacks?
  8. Is the team moving forward from vision to result?
  9. Do team leaders know what motivates team members?
  10. How adept is the team at evolving methods for collaboration, analytics people have broad backgrounds and experience. Engender your team to share ideas, brainstorm, and innovate in a supportive and creative atmosphere. 
  11. Give due attention and recognition for what’s going well and not just on what’s going wrong. The team will want to know what feature the client particularly liked about their model, or want due recognition when they devise a unique solution to a complex problem.  By setting a positive vibe it ensures that any negativity takes a back seat.
  12. Trust your instincts and then act upon them. Its exactly the same as discovering patterns in data and instinctively encapsulating and acting upon that discovery. It might transpire that the issue is unimportant, and no action is deemed necessary.  However, if these is an issue it will not disappear of its own accord and should be dealt with straight away. Trust your training and experience by being professional and using all appropriate channels to reach a resolution.

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By Alex White
Alex White