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  • Writer's pictureSterling Grey

Decoding the DNA of Leadership: My Journey with Data Analytics

Updated: Nov 29, 2023


As a consultant entrenched in the evolution of leadership, I've witnessed a seismic shift. The coronation of leaders based on gut feelings or impressive resumes is being replaced by a new era where data analytics serves as the guiding light. My experience has taught me that numbers reveal a narrative far truer than perfectly crafted profiles, unmasking the leaders that companies truly need.



Revolutionizing Leadership Identification: Gone are the days of selecting leaders solely through instinct or glossy credentials. The Fortune and FTSE 100 I work with have embraced the revolution of deeper talent data to cut through bias and unveil the raw competencies and hidden potentials of aspiring leaders. This is not a trend; it's a transformation in how we define and discover true leadership talent.


Harnessing Predictive Analytics: The solution is in the power of predictive analytics to match leadership traits with organizational needs. This approach isn't just about reviewing past successes; it's about predicting future performance.


Think about it this way, an exceptional Architect at Google isn't guaranteed to be an exceptional Architect at Facebook, or Amazon, or Morgan Stanley. I say this because I've experienced this exactly. One of these blue chips came to me having made the mistake of poaching a very expensive tech exec from another. Only to have him walk out 6 months later. The problem was nothing to do with the caliber of his skills or experience. It had everything to do with a misalignment of contect, culture, and expectations.


By analyzing an organizations historical data to pinpoint what actually drives success, I can often forecast with surprising accuracy which traits will lead to successful leadership within a specific corporate culture.


Metrics That Matter:

  • In a recent engagement with a global financial firm, I utilized data to pinpoint leaders who not only had the strategic acumen but also the empathy to lead teams effectively. The result? A staggering 30% increase in team performance across the board.

  • Crunching the data across a portfolio of clients found a 60% increase in successful hires when integrating data analytics into their leadership selection process.

From Intuition to Evidence: My work transforms the subtle art of leadership selection into an empirical science. I quantify qualities such as innovation impact, decision-making speed, and team engagement, turning the abstract qualities of leadership into measurable evidence.


Avoiding the Costly Mis-Hire: I have studied this with organizations extensively. I’ve distilled the exercise down to a potent and revealing question.


“If you had a blank slate, how many of your team members would you rehire?”


On average, the answer is roughly 25%. Let that marinate…..


I've then gone on to help calculate the financial toll a mis-hire can take on an organization. Leveraging data significantly mitigates this risk, allowing us to look beyond traditional hiring molds and identify leaders who can forge new paths to success.


Championing Diversity through Data: Data analytics is blind to the biases that can plague traditional hiring. It's become an invaluable asset for promoting inclusion and diversity in leadership positions.


Conductors used to think women couldn’t, or shouldn’t play in an Orchestra. Check out the impact of blind auditions used by the New York Philharmonic.


The organizations I've consulted for are not just more innovative but also financially stronger, thanks to a leadership that reflects the true intellectual diversity and experience.


Conclusion: The leaders of tomorrow aren't always featured on the glossy pages of business magazines today. I've found them hidden within the data—between the lines of spreadsheets, within the patterns of performance metrics. My journey into data analytics in leadership consulting has not only been about finding the right leaders but also about redefining leadership itself. The data points us toward not just a new leader but a new blueprint for leadership.


Call to Action: If you or your organization are interested in learning how to harness talent data, give me a shout!



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