It takes work to build up a culture throughout an organization. Maintaining a specific value system (such as integrity, dependability, etc.) throughout a group is important because it keeps people engaged even as challenges arise or changes occur. Often, it’s the small pieces which fit together and create the overall culture because the daily routine becomes engrained in the community. For example – if honesty is commonly utilized throughout a group, then honesty will naturally be integrated into new processes as they form.
A solid foundation for a certain value is built up daily, but the real progress comes through support and measured indicators. By setting and prioritizing goals, the vision becomes clearer and more attainable. These goals generate internal discussion about the company progress, how they align with the company’s vision, and how they advance the company in general. Many different instruments can propel goals forward, including data.
Data is a powerful tool for achieving a vision because it’s a tangible way to understand what progress is being made. Data can provide indicators to guide the overall goals. Many water utilities are integrating comprehensive data into their processes which is helping them recognize patterns. This can translate into a faster response to problems because they are being caught earlier. Consumers are able to access pertinent information which can answer questions before they need to call the utility. Information can also empower the consumer to take further steps, such as incorporating conservation. Data allows the values of a group to expand beyond themselves and impact others.
A group with poor data culture could have data collection systems, but the systems won’t be collecting worthwhile data or they won’t make the effort to translate the data into useful information. In contrast, a group with a strong data culture would prioritize data to accomplish their goals.
Some thoughts to ponder:
· How do your various groups use data?
· How can you use data in more effective ways?
· How can data make a group stronger?