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Why Everyone on Your Leadership Team Needs Data Skills w/Matt Cowell, QuantHub CEO Ep#138

By Anthony Taylor - December 15, 2021

Matt Cowell is the CEO of QuantHub, helping companies future-proof their workforce by building a highly data fluent employee-base and exceptional AI teams. Previously, Matt held several SVP of Product roles at software companies.

On this episode of the Strategy & Leadership Podcast, Matt joins us to discuss why leaders need to develop data skills, the upside of investing in data capability, why people are bad at making data driven decisions, and more.

To learn more about QuantHub and how they may be able to help your team with data literacy and skills, visit their website for a free consultation.

Listen to the audio version here, or watch the video at the bottom of the page:


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Here's a breakdown of the conversation:

  • Why leaders need to develop data skills

In most cases, leaders view data and analytics as something that isn't their department, and appoint a specialist instead. Matt explains how in today's day and age, everyone needs to be developing data skills. He highlights marketing and how it used to be viewed more as an art. Now, data is at the center of marketing decisions, and is a part of every department in your organization. 

Just like you don't want to rely on your gut, you also don't want to over-analyze everything and become a robot, Matt says. Intuition is important, but make sure your intuition is informed from the data on your business, market, and industry.  

  • The fundamentals of data skills: Data literacy

Matt explains some of the fundamentals of data skills, otherwise known as data literacy. Part of it is just understanding the use cases for data. In order to use the data more effectively, it will help to understand how it might be used in the first place - ie: the hiring process, sales, employee retention.

Another big part of data literacy is understanding the visualization of data. That means being able to read and interpret different types of charts and graphs. Once you become more familiar with data visualization, you'll be able to use data to tell stories, which is critical for sales and marketing.

  • Why people are bad at making data driven decisions

Matt admits that not everyone has the data driven decision making skill, and that it's a tough one to teach. Matt says the key to becoming data driven and improving your data driven decision making is being more inquisitive as a leader. Ask questions. Over time, you'll begin to ask better questions, and you'll be able to inform more of your decision making with data.

As an example, Matt unpacks the hiring process. If the process is taking too long, dig down into each layer of the process to try and find why. Start with "why is this taking so long?". Then, "why is this piece of the process taking so long, once the manager is involved?". Then, "why is the manager taking this long to give their feedback?". And so on. 

To learn more about QuantHub and how they may be able to help your team with data literacy and skills, visit their website for a free consultation.


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