The beginning of a managerial career
Like many aspiring managers, I was rooting for the team, and my initial management style had a touch of idealism. I wanted to be useful to people, create comfortable working conditions, build trusting relationships with them, and give them opportunities for development. The situation was aggravated by the fact that being closely associated with HR, all employees of the company were considered a team. Everyone should have been happy. I saw my mission in happiness culture - every time passing by the tight “cubes” in the open space, I smiled at my colleagues, asked how they were doing and listened to their experiences. They all boiled down to a lack of attention and understanding, and it seemed how easy it was to help them, just by talking.
Shield against wrong decisions
But at the same time, being ambitious and curious, diligently attending all management meetings, I made discovery after discovery. There, in the meeting room with the shutters down, between the Epson projector and the flipchart, dreams of wise leaders and balanced decision-making collapsed in my youthful mind. It turns out that the decisions were made in favor of those who spoke louder and was enthusiastic... With skillful verbal phrases, their speeches sincerely and heartfelt enveloped the collective consciousness. At the same time, my attempts to protect employees and the obvious arguments “they will all leave” and “it's not about staff shortages, but about your stupid tests and inflated interviewers” sounded unconvincing and did not find a response. A mathematician by training, instead of improving my oratory skill or studying the art of influence, or, in extreme cases, the sacrament of presentation, I was looking for some undeniable truth, a significant fact that you can't find fault with. Which will be like a reflective shield against wrong decisions.
To do a little, but right
The search began with numbers. It is not easy to collect statistics in the midst of chaos. From each process in the department, data was carefully extracted and distributed to tablets, funnels, archives and graphs.
Something suggested that efficiency is to do a little, but right. Contact the right person, at the right time, with the right proposal. To develop the ability to delicately maneuver and hit the target, one would have to break the classic approaches: take the time and resources to experiment, test new hypotheses, learn and find your own way, and not continue to besiege the unfortunate “target audience” with letters and calls.
But this strategy did not inspire confidence in the management, because it badly created the impression of stormy activity. And I immediately fell under suspicion. How many emails have you sent today? How many calls did you make? How many lines of code did you write? Somehow not enough. It turns out that the numbers could play in different teams and again the truth is on the side of those who knew how to convince beautifully.
First success. Prove first, then proceed with execution
This led to a starting point and a hypothesis testing project. Today we start to do it differently, we predict the result, calculate the indicators in a month, the resources expended, the payback and draw conclusions. The first one built in this way resource inventory and utilization process looked bright and convincing in numbers and banknotes. The company grew and saved at the same time - just the dream of any owner. I started to look more confident in meetings and went up quickly. My arguments sounded harsh and harsh - like in a trial - first prove it, then proceed to execution.
Digit patterns and the starting point for digital transformation
It would seem that the goal has been achieved - stop, count and manage. But the numbers began to play with colors and I suddenly wanted to learn how to put them into patterns. It would be nice to go even further - to look into the future, calculate risks, simulate and choose the best scenario. Now, if we knew what opportunities we are missing and know what consequences we have avoided, the world would be idealized: only the best managers would work in companies, we would wisely spend money and resources and monitor the environment.
The market favored, threw up modern algorithms and innovations in the form predictive analytics and machine learning algorithms.
While engineers experimented with algorithms, there was an operational problem in real life - data was not collected properly, was not matched, it was not enough, it was not ordered. After our team's hard work trying to build basic analytics, the CFO shared his wise observation: Shit in, shit out.
A system that cleanses itself organically
A colleague thoughtfully said: "Errors accumulate because your system does not organically clean itself out." It was a dead end that threw us to the beginning of the path. All over again: processes, cubes, workflows, integrations, users, training, implementation. Like archaeologists, we mined historical data as valuable minerals. The entire infrastructure and the entire history of the company floated in episodes and formed in sequence. And checks, checks, checks ... 24/7 system collates and looks for errors and gaps in the collected data.
Flashlight 360 °
Our analytics are still not perfect, but the viewing angle is gradually expanding. Only by analyzing the full amount of information, you can reach the truth. There is little romance in this profession, but a lot of boring routine. I continue to fiercely hate poor visibility, unnecessary emotions, paranoia and panic, it is still unacceptable for me to control blindly. But in order to pick up a flashlight, you need to invent a light bulb. I want to give managers a flashlight, I believe that their decisions will become more meaningful. Yes, the mechanism is more complicated than it might seem. But the desire to see the panorama 360 ° - good motivator. Moreover, when the market provides opportunities and tools.