Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Data Governance and the Glib

My absolute favorite blog is the Creating Passionate Users blog, authored by Kathy Sierra and Dan Russell. I am a faithful reader and often find value in going back in time and re-reading the articles.

One article is extremely powerful in the data governance world, particularly when it comes to managing teams of business users and IT users. I’m referring to a brilliant entry entitled “When only the glib win, we all lose I quote:

In way too many meetings, the fastest talkers win. And by "fastest talkers", I mean those who are the first to articulate an idea, challenge, issue, whatever. Too many of us assume that if it sounds smart, it probably is, especially when we aren't given the chance to think about it. The problem is, the guy with the "gut feeling"--the one who senses that something's not right, but has no idea how to explain it, let alone articulate it on the spot--might be right. Too bad, though, because the glib usually rule.

When you begin to build your teams for data governance, you must accommodate for both the glib and those who mull. Not to stereotype, but technical users may be more the type to contemplate, while your sales and marketing folks, for example, might be more the glib type. If your meetings are ruled by the glib talking sales folks, the mulling IT folks may become frustrated, causing pain and conflict.

Frankly, very few decisions need to be made right away. Decisions to completely change the ways your company does business, which are often part of data governance planning, can probably stand a little think-time. One of the best suggestions I’ve heard was for teams to adopt a 24 hour rule, which allows for anyone in the group to call for a break for 24 hours before making a final decision on a big issue. If someone feels like something is missing, chances are it is. People can take time to organize, digest and process. With a small waiting period on big decisions, the glib won’t rule over those who need to mull, and justice will be served.

Also, it may be necessary for those who mull to come out of their comfort zone and become more glib. The blog entry highlights a "Glib Continuum" with ideas for changing your place in the continuum. Attending that Dale Carnegie training, or joining Toastmasters are good ways to move up the glib continuum. Thanks to Kathy and her readers for the excellent ideas.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own and don't necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer. The material written here is copyright (c) 2010 by Steve Sarsfield. To request permission to reuse, please e-mail me.