February 8, 2019

How you judge your progress and resources for your 2019 ambitions

By Paul Laughlin

Thanks to all those readers who participated in our latest poll, of your progress last year. Initial results are in, so let me share them with you all.

It has been fascinating to review your answers, especially compared to the results from last year. It seems there have been some changes.

The questions asked in this survey were selected to shed light on actual practice compared to advice shared on this site. For that reason, in each section I will share the results of our survey and also related posts that should be of interest.

So, without further ado, let’s see customer insight leaders have revealed about their progress in 2018 & goals for 2019…

How you reviewed your progress over 2018

The first question asked was: “How have you reviewed your progress during 2018?” Initial results reveal this range of answers…

your progress 1

Most leaders (28%) are using a mix of hard & soft metrics to assess their performance. No surprises there, but I was encouraged to see the range of other answers (all 14%).

Use of coaches or mentors to help review your progress & reflecting on your personal story can be very effective methods. It would appear that a greater diversity of methods is now being used than just goal metrics.

It is encouraging to see that the alternative methods shared on this blog have started to gain some traction. As a reminder those posts were:

Whether you view 2018 as a success of not

The second question asked was: “How do you view 2018, with regards to achieving what you wanted?” Initial results reveal this range of answers…

your progress 2

My first reaction is congratulations! Only 17% of leaders viewed the year as neutral, with 83% choosing successful or very successful. It sounds like our readers are seeing real success in their businesses.

Last year we began to feature audio interviews with a number of Customer Insight & Data Science leaders. If you are keen to learn from others who have been very successful in advancing analytics in their business – those conversations are well worth a listen.

If you are looking to raise the bar in 2019 & push on to a very successful year, I’d suggest the following posts:

Your varied achievements during 2018, resources to help in 2019

The second question asked was: “What types of goals/progress did you achieve in 2018?” Initial results reveal this range of answers (multiple choices allowed)…

your progress 3

I found it encouraging to see that the two most common achievements (25% each) were both team capability building & personal development. Both have been frequent themes on this blog.

To improve your team capability, I suggest reading the following:

To focus on your personal development as a leader in 2019, I suggest:

The third choice (at 19%) was marketing improvement and we have also featured content on that theme. It seems the most common organisational reporting line for insight or analytics teams is into Marketing. So, we’ve focused on a few of the most important marketing needs/applications for insight.

To focus on applying customer insight to your marketing in 2019, I recommend:

Your progress against your expectations, accountability

The fourth question is a slightly different take on second question, deliberately asked after you’ve recalled what was achieved. It asks: “How well did you achieve the goals/progress you wanted in 2018?“. Initial results reveal this range of answers…

your progress 4

With 50% of respondents citing an equal mix of success & failure – it is interesting to compare this to the more positive answers to question 2. It is encouraging that 50% achieved most or all of their goals, but I think the others should also be encouraged.

In their posts challenging the standard use of goal setting, both Tony Boobier & William Buist make the point that fixating on a goal can be too rigid. You may have set a challenging specific target. Failing to hit that could still be a ‘success‘, if significant progress has been achieved.

So, if you missed out on a bigger bonus or feel at all disappointed by your score against your goals – I encourage you to step back and reflect again on what you did achieve. Most change projects take longer than anticipated (c.f. the planning fallacy) and moving hearts & minds is particularly hard.

If your challenge includes culture change, then I suggest these posts to reinspire you:

How coaches & mentors are helping you succeed (at least half of you)

My final question focussed on a topic very close to my heart & work: “Did you work with a coach or mentor in 2018, to help you achieve what you wanted?”. Initial results reveal this range of answers…

your progress 5

Compared to an earlier survey that focussed on your use of coaches or mentors, this is an encouraging increase. Although only 50% used a coach or mentor, it seems like use of both is on the rise. Given the significant progress I’ve had the joy of watching my mentoring clients make, I heartily recommend it.

For those who are still unsure of whether coaching or mentoring is for them, we have some posts to help. I hope one of the following helps you decide for yourself. Don’t go too far into 2019 without investing in you & your capability to help others.

Relevant posts on coaching, mentoring & relevance to you:

Was your progress different? What’s your advice for success in 2019?

Thanks again to those who participated in this annual poll. If you haven’t yet, then please do. I will leave the poll open for a few more weeks to see if profile changes.

If you didn’t take part, would you have given similar answers? If not, it’s would be interesting to hear from you.

Do you have other advice for Customer Insight or Data Science leaders in 2019? How are you setting yourself up for greater success? Please share below or on social media. If you have a story to tell, then perhaps we should also talk about in interview or blog post?