Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Influencing Using Data-An Example

Yesterday I wrote about the way leaders can use data to influence others.  Today I want to provide an example of how a skilled leader does exactly that.

The attached link is to a video and transcript of Proctor and Gamble CEO Bob McDonald during an interview at the Wall Street Journal's ECO:nomics 2012 conference.  If the video doesn't run on your computer there is a transcript below.  McDonald is answering questions about the environmental impact of Proctor and Gamble products and in one instance whether or not consumers are willing to make economic trade-offs for environmentally friendly products.

As you read or listen to the interview think about what it took to decide what data to collect and why. For example, he gathered data on how many bucket loads of water it took to rinse clothes in the Philippines. He also knows that the average woman walks seven kilometers to get water every day...not just in the Philippines but globally...and he knows that this is a women's issue. The 'red thread" that ties this all together is the Proctor and Gamble purpose: "To improve the lives of the world's consumers". Reducing the buckets of water required to rinse clothes and the number of trips to get a bucket of water improves the lives of millions of women.  A byproduct of improving the lives of millions of women is that it also helps conserve often scarce and important resource of water..

The content of the answers is less important to me for purposes of this blog than the way McDonald deftly weaves data to support just about every answer to a question and to make each point.  In this example he's in an interview and not using any visual visualization isn't appropriate to the situation. His command of the data, and his use of the data create a a broader frame...he draws a line of sight his to the broader P&G purpose.... is an excellent example how leaders can effectively use data.


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