Success leaves clues, and in my travels working with well over 500 professional teams globally I’ve observed several simple patterns among teams that were truly data-driven. Bear in mind, few if any had all of the below, and when implementing these, improvement is more important than perfection. Not everybody is the LA Dodgers or Manchester City, and it can be daunting figuring out where to start.
When I spent time with an NFL team in Texas I observed a seamless flow of data from practice, gym + medical into a clean report delivered to coaching staff over lunch, with questions reacting to that report transmitted back to the R&D team. They retained curiosity over what other teams did to manage their databases, collect clean data, and the latest research insights. We introduced them to the medical staff at an Original Six NHL team who shared a testing technique and coach-education exercise that had helped athlete rehabilitation practices. It was clear that those orgs were open and leaning into innovation and problem-solving, which anybody should be invested in. Here are some more patterns I observed among data-driven teams:
–Organization-wide standards for collecting, ingesting, and preparing data. Make SOPs!
–All datasets housed in one place, with just one login required for access. This is a game-changer.
–Proactive API infrastructure made third-party data easy and ensure architecture is sound.
–Active and constant education encouraging stakeholders on the above. A culture of learning and asking questions will always be a key way to move the needle!
It’s normal to feel limited by existing culture, but there is always something we can do to improve. There are two choices every day, get better or get worse.
Pick the right one!