Often in business the way forward isn’t “or” but “and”. That is, not abandoning one cornerstone for another; rather, adding other building blocks as necessary. It’s the cumulative approach that can streamline savvy organizations who are able to move beyond the fear of adding additional elements or layers.
We’ve been seeing this trend in a way that is particularly germane to our work, at the nexus of data and behavior. But let’s look back a moment before looking forward.
For the past five-plus years there has been a strong focus on corporate culture, including the installation of a chief culture officer or some other executive-level champion of thoughtful, strategic culture initiatives. To a great degree they focused on goals, alignment and communication, with tentacles reaching into every corner of an organization. That is great and we should not throw out our emphasis on the power of a curated culture.
Still, the last few years also have seen the amount of data organizations wield grow exponentially. That too is good and exciting, but only if they can fully leverage that data while at the same time deftly coordinating all the many facets that affect and are affected by data or otherwise have to be part of the collaborative, comprehensive mix.
So, let’s get back to that trend I hinted at above. At the intersection of culture, people, customer experience, big data, AI, machine learning and all of the other elements a robust organization must coordinate, leaders are beginning to see the next overlay many will need to pull across all else (as they did when making culture a studied part of their infrastructure).
That is a Behavioral Science Officer or behavioral science team. We know people approach and understand things differently and communicate in myriad ways. That’s what is driving these leaders to envision some sort of coordinated effort that leverages behavioral data across disparate areas of their business.
This might address anything from testing out new products, experimenting with words and customer retention to hiring, governance, regulation and accountability. In short, not only harvesting people data, but also ensuring it is valid and relevant and maximally redeployed to greatest effect.
A devil’s advocate might say of course this sounds like a good idea to someone who offers a validated behavioral discovery tech platform. But truth is, the need for a top-down, across-all embrace of behavioral science is bigger than just that tech platform, which could be one very effective part of such a rollout, but, still, only one part of it.
The amount of data, including all sorts of behavioral data (whether harvested or not), generated and held by organizations will continue to grow. So will the need to improve everything from products to profits and accountability by leveraging the massive amounts of information. By managing behavior.
I would venture to say that even the early adopters of a behavior tech platform like ours would realize the most success by taking a big-picture, infrastructure approach to behavior sciences. Ultimately, the key is to activate all of the insight data you have (access to) so you can know, engage and grow employees and clients, anticipating what they want and need – and delivering it – maybe even before they know what they want.
All business is about people, and because business is a people science, we must understand human nature to truly excel at and understand business. Human nature is stable and needs to be understood; doing so can and will affect your bottom line. Using a behavioral science approach will identify the business goals and challenges that can be reached and resolved through the scalable and practical application of what I like to refer to as understanding people before numbers.
What areas of your organization would benefit from the layering in of behavioral science? And can you foresee a C-level behavioral sciences team member in your organization’s future?
I’m interested in your take on this, so talk back: HMassie@dnabehavior.com. I’ll of course be watching this trend and any others that touch behavior, money and tech. I promise to report back.