Data Management

Gordon Wong: Utilizing an information contract to construct belief in fashionable information groups – Atlan

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Methods to quash that flood of P0s and assist your information group succeed

I simply must get by way of this busy interval, then I can deal with the essential stuff… Haven’t all of us thought this, solely to search out ourselves nonetheless mired in ad-hoc work months later? With one pressing P0 after one other, it may be straightforward for information leaders and groups to deal with short-term deliverables and deadlines — all whereas lacking out on the larger image.

From our work with tons of of fantastic information groups and as an information group ourselves, we’ve discovered that defining who you’re as a frontrunner and what you need your group to work towards is a key element to success — simply as essential as hitting that subsequent P0 deliverable.

We not too long ago spoke with Gordon Wong, a advisor and founding father of Wong Choice Intelligence who was previously a senior chief of enterprise intelligence at each Hubspot and Fitbit. He’s a hands-on, collaborative analytics chief with deep expertise in constructing nice information groups whereas serving to companies develop. 

One of many large takeaways from our chat was the significance of forming a transparent mission and imaginative and prescient on your group. “That appears approach too easy,” he says. “However seems, it’s actually exhausting.” Listed here are some strategies Gordon used to arrange group missions and visions — each private {and professional} — and the way they helped his group carry out at their greatest. 


(This interview is from an book we not too long ago revealed, titled The Secrets and techniques of a Trendy Knowledge Chief, that includes insights from Gordon and different superb information leaders. Study extra and obtain right here.)


Set up your group’s mission and imaginative and prescient

Let’s begin with the fundamentals — what’s the distinction between a group mission and imaginative and prescient? Your imaginative and prescient ought to include your information group’s why, and your mission ought to deal with the what and the way. The previous ought to encourage, and the latter ought to drive motion. 

Whether or not you’re new to your function or seeking to enhance the format of your current group, getting strong, genuine definitions of your mission and imaginative and prescient requires a number of questions and deep listening.

A very powerful trait of a frontrunner is to determine the imaginative and prescient. It’s a must to begin someplace.

Gordon Wong

Gordon begins by talking with stakeholders throughout the group to get a strong image of what everybody wants. He focuses most of his early time on asking questions and adjusting primarily based on what he learns. 

Whereas among the questions would possibly really feel primary, they’re all about ensuring everyone seems to be on the identical web page. That is vital for a practical mission. “Enterprise enterprise and information groups are busy, and our product tends to be so summary,” he says. Making the summary extra concrete by gathering context will assist you to extra simply set objectives. 

Some questions he’s discovered helpful firstly: 

  • What’s the widespread understanding of the issue?
  • Who’re our prospects? 
  • What do they care about? 
  • How are we addressing their wants? 

When you establish the issues and the trail is evident, you may kind your mission and imaginative and prescient, and the KPIs required to make them profitable. 

“As a result of that form of success is difficult to measure, we don’t measure it,” says Gordon. “Each small store proprietor, each small restaurant, they measure the enterprise. They know the receipts for the day, they know their stock. We must always do the identical.”

Outline the contract

After years of expertise within the information trade, one thing equally essential to Gordon as a mission and imaginative and prescient is a well-defined contract. This isn’t the sort that outlines your wage and function expectations. It’s the contract you and your group enter into along with your superiors and stakeholders. 

“This can be a new half for me,” says Gordon. “It’s all about deciding collectively what successful seems like.” Displaying your boss a well-thought-out mission and imaginative and prescient on your group is nice — getting your boss to conform to the phrases of success is essential.

  • What’s our agreed-upon definition of success? 
  • What sources are you prepared to present me to assist this mission? 
  • Do you agree to those set goalposts? 

Most leaders don’t transfer goalposts maliciously, however as a result of they’re formidable. This doesn’t change the truth that fast pivots can pressure your group and decrease the standard of your work.

When you’ve got a mission, imaginative and prescient, and contract, you’ve by the way outlined learn how to cope with disagreements. 

Gordon Wong

Contract instance: 

Should you give me these sources, I’ll ship this work on this timeframe.

Should you don’t give me these sources, I can now not assure the timeline. 

“You probably have relationship along with your boss, it is best to have the ability to have that dialog,” says Gordon. “Do you acknowledge that should you change your scope or lower my sources, we’re placing high quality and supply in danger?” Dangerous as it would really feel to set clear boundaries, keep in mind that your function as a frontrunner is to talk not only for your self, however on your group. 

“We’re all adults,” says Gordon. “Get this dialog on the market up entrance.” 

Decide the place you’re on Maslow’s pyramid 

Maslow’s hierarchy of wants is a principle of motivation — everyone seems to be motivated by one thing, and determining the place you and your workers fall within the pyramid will help you greatest join them to your bigger objectives.

Your workers are inside stakeholders. Work with them to determine why they’re right here.

Gordon Wong

Some widespread motivations Gordon has seen through the years embrace cash, training and mentorship alternatives, neighborhood and camaraderie, and an alignment with the corporate’s values. 

Irrespective of your workers’ causes for exhibiting up each day, as soon as they’re settled you may start to construct belief with them. “I’m not going to criticize you should you’re right here to feed your loved ones,” says Gordon. “I’ve bought to leap proper in — I’ve to feed my household as effectively. So I attempt to set up belief with you by saying, ‘Hey, I believe I imagine that if I’m your coach, and I assist us promote, and we drive enterprise, we will help you meet these objectives.’ That’s the place we get that alignment.”

Talk your private mission and imaginative and prescient

One thing that has gone a great distance for Gordon when constructing relationships with new groups is being upfront about his personal mission and imaginative and prescient, his personal causes for being there, and telling his workers the contract from day one. 

He even wrote up a handbook known as “Methods to Gordon.” He shares the information with folks he works with so there isn’t a grey space about what he guarantees and what drives his selections. 

“I’m an enormous believer in psychological security, so actually, this has nothing to do with information, however quite has to do with simply management generally,” says Gordon. “I want to determine belief with my group, so my first resolution is I begin speaking about myself and my motivations: I must receives a commission, I must be studying, I must be good for workers, for the corporate, for the world.”

Very similar to with a group’s mission and imaginative and prescient, a transparent define creates area for open and sincere conversations. “It’s been actually useful for me,” he says.

I attempt to give folks a purpose to belief me. Missions and visions — my very own and team-based — say, ‘right here’s how I believe you’ll profit if you’re prepared to place some belief in me.’

Gordon Wong


Gordon not too long ago did a stay Q&A about his learnings and classes as a contemporary information chief. Watch the recording right here.


Discovered this beneficial? Learn our newest free book  — Secrets and techniques of a Trendy Knowledge Chief: The First 365 Days Inside a Knowledge Group.

It’s chock-full of insights from modern information leaders like Erica Louie, Stephen Bailey (Whatnot, Immuta), Taylor Murphy (Meltano, GitLab), and Gordon Wong (Wong Choice Intelligence, Hubspot, Fitbit).


This text was additionally revealed on Medium.

Header photograph: charlesdeluvio on Unsplash

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