Archive for February 2015



Where is your ESI?

WhereIsYourDataIf you are like many readers (and this author!) your may first need to find out “What the heck is ESI?” Electronically Stored Information is what the lawyers call all that stuff we knowledge workers produce that lives on our local machines, in the corporate network, in the cloud, and these days, on wearable devices.

Jonathan Swerdloff makes a compelling argument that a wise organization will take the time to compile a data map – “a document or series of documents that identify the who, what, and where of the ESI held by an organization.” Swerdloff, an attorney, sees this as necessary preparation for the day that an organization faces litigation. He points out that putting this document together requires a level of due diligence which probably extends to surveying employees, who may be storing organizational information in places unknown to the IT department.

But really, putting this document together has a strategic purpose, as well. So many of us are on multi-organizational teams these days, and those teams choose a wide range of places to share information.  It’s probably important to find out who, if anybody, is storing project information in a partner org’s system or in Basecamp, shared documents in Dropbox or Google Docs, or meeting notes in the chat logs at GChat or Skype.

Even people whose work is entirely within the organization may be storing information elsewhere. When the priority is to get the work done, many choose to request forgiveness later, rather than ask permission up front to use a cloud-based tool. And of course, a simple misconfiguration can result in critical emails going out under an employee’s personal, rather than corporate account.

Creating the data map may well expose some deficits in the organizational toolbox. If you find that your most effective employees are using tools you are not managing, it may be time to bring some of that capacity into your organization.

We’ve been providing role-based training, team discussion and file space to organizations for over a decade now. We’d love to help you simplify your data map. Contact us at

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predictiveanalyticsThe folks at Bersin by Deloitte have a brief out about how talent analytics can be harnessed to improve decision making in the human resources arena. They’ve taken a look at some of the new predictive analytics products designed to model retention, performance, leadership and succession planning, and career planning.

Wisely, Bersin cautions HR Leaders to

  • Validate the accuracy of the predictive models over time and within different segments of the employee population.
  • Look for solutions that reveal the factors related to predictions and establish talent initiatives based on the relevant factors (e.g., initiatives designed to reduce turnover).
  • Make sure to check the quality of the data being fed into the model and work to improve data quality over time.
  • Put in place programs to help managers and HR staff to correctly interpret and act upon the data and predictions

It’s in this last area that I think the learning organization needs to be pro-active. Data is terrific, but managing to new numbers requires a lot more than just an introduction to the new dashboard. Conscientious managers will want to understand just what is captured and not captured in the new models. The organization will need the feedback from the field on where the model fails to capture unique aspects of the operation. Modelling, done well, is an iterative process. Therefore, so must be our training in how to use it.

An organization we know is planning to encourage (and capture!) informal learning around this culture change by presenting the new dashboards in the context of a software platform which also features space for forum discussions about the numbers and what they mean. They plan to sponsor periodic conversations about how the modeling assumptions are arrived at, and what it means, operationally, when a manager’s results show her performing above or below the mean, and to encourage managers to share their success stories in “moving the needle”.

How do you plan to attend to the human side of incorporating the new analytics? We can help! Contact us at

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