Navigating Data Literacy: Insights from Jordan Morrow

Data-Driven Podcast

David Mariani and Jordan Morrow, a renowned expert in Data Literacy, discuss effective strategies for embedding data literacy in organizations, emphasizing its significance beyond a buzzword. Jordan shares insights on fostering a data-driven culture, including key dos and don’ts. The conversation highlights the impact of data literacy through real-world success stories and explores the role of tools, processes, and cultural shifts in enhancing industry-wide data literacy. They also delve into the challenges and successes of data leaders in creating engaging, data-informed environments, and balancing self-service with data integrity.

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The purpose is not to turn everybody into a data scientist or a data engineer or a data analyst. The purpose is to empower people with comfort. To your point, Excel is something they’re comfortable with.

If I’m a mid-level manager, some of us probably want to become an executive and move up. Doesn’t it intuitively just make sense that if you are better at using data, you’re gonna make smarter decisions. We’re not trying to get rid of the human element. I don’t wanna get rid of anybody’s gut feel, intuition. I just wanna combine ’em with the data. That’s what I teach.


Dave Mariani: Hi listeners, and welcome to the Data-Driven podcast, today’s guest is Jordan Morrow. Jordan is the vice president and head of data and analytics at Brainstorm. but you know, Jordan is just a pioneer and a thought leader in data literacy and all things data. So we’re very lucky to have Jordan join the podcast, and we’re gonna talk a lot about data and analytics. and Jordan is, is here too, is to have a really engaging conversation. So, Jordan, welcome to the podcast.

Jordan Morrow: Awesome. Thanks for having me, Dave. I love working with AtScale, you, and Ravit, who’s helping us behind the scenes here. Absolutely. My pleasure. And I’m grateful for the chance to chat today.

Dave Mariani: And I love your title, Chief Nerd. absolutely. It’s, and that, that’s sort of like, it leads me to my first question, Jordan. So can you tell the listeners a little bit about sort of yourself and how you got to where you are today?

Jordan Morrow: Yeah, it’s, it is such an interesting journey with data literacy. So personally myself, married man, five children, two dogs and a bunny. So if you ever come to our house, just expect a lot of fun and chaos. Little background on my hair today. I, I actually enjoy having a shaved head, so this’ll tell people kind of where I sit with myself though. Yesterday, my company, this week was like corporate meetings. We had an activities and, and whatever all week. Today’s Friday, so it was Monday through Thursday, and yesterday we had a scavenger hunt where we give back to the community where our office is located. So we did stuff like bought a stranger lunch, gave a homeless person a meal, and you got points and then it, and one of the things you could do to get points was have a mohawk or give your team member a mohawk.

Jordan Morrow: So we shaved a mohawk into my hair, and then we shaved, and then we shaved my head for even more points. And if, for me, it wasn’t a problem, like I, except for one thing, my son, I did get, he had never had his hair cut before. And, well, he had like, ends trimmed it stuff, but he was almost six long, curly hair. And I cut my hair with him. I was worried he might be a little upset. But anyway, so that hopefully tells people about my personality. I do enjoy having fun, but let me talk now about the data stuff, which is why we’re here. I was working at American Express and I had an, I was at the time, this is a few years ago now, democratization was of data was happening. We were, we had an internal BI tool and they were trying to migrate us to Tableau.

Jordan Morrow: And I would travel back to American Express’s headquarters multiple times a year, talked to the group that I worked with, train them on the dashboards. But the problem with training on dashboards, and, and it’s probably still this way in a lot of ways, was we would train where to point and click that doesn’t train people how to use data. That’s a different thing, right And so what we ended up doing was I had an idea and it was literally, you know, teach basic statistics. I created, I think a plan to a degree. It wasn’t fully Fettered presented it to my EVP and she said no, and she just said they’re not ready for that maybe in the future. And it was, I think at that point, just status quo, do what you’re doing. I didn’t know that I was stumbling probably that, that’s probably, I’ve said it for a long time, but that’s, you know, where I’m stumbling upon or I didn’t realize what I was thinking of.

Jordan Morrow: Mm-Hmm. . And then in 2016, that was maybe the 20 14, 20 15, maybe the end of 2014, for some reason I have January, 2015, possibly is when that happened. So then in 2016, click hired me into an what was essentially, I don’t know if they, Kevin Hannigan, huge salute to him. Still. A friend of mine hired me and had an idea, I think like I did to teach analytics to everybody. And it was a product agnostic thing. And so that’s where I started building June, 2016 is when I, I was hired, I think it was February or March, 2017. she might’ve been the sole author on it, but Valerie Logan, huge shout out to her, did an article for Gartner about data literacy. I don’t think she had any idea that I was building it. I I, we didn’t necessarily call it only data literacy or whatever we called it.

Jordan Morrow: And eventually we landed on it thanks to her. She was like, just land on a name and go. And from there, it’s just blown up. I, if you had asked me, Dave, where in the world I would’ve been with data literacy, we were just talking before we started recording about some travel that possible this year and, and traveled the world on this, spoken to companies all over the world, spoke to the United Nations. It’s, it blows me away. And I love it. Like chief nerd is more than fitting. I, I have a license plate by the way that says Chief nerd, but I, I love it. Data and analytics to me is power. It’s amazing. But they’re tools and, and we do need to view that as in, in their proper place. We have tools all over the place to empower us. And I think that that’s what data and analytics does, is it can help empower us, but we definitely need the skills and confidence to be able to do that.

Dave Mariani: Yeah. You know, that’s what I, when I, when I got to know a little bit about data literacy and, and a lot of it’s driven by the stuff that you’ve produced and written. what I loved about it is it’s about the people side. You know, we’ve always, look, I’m a technologist, right I write code, I still write code, I love writing code. But, but it’s not about the tools and the technology. It’s, we, we really sort of under invested when it came to people. So, you know, just, you can put the tools in front of ’em, but if they don’t know what to use or how to use them or, or even understand what the, what they’re trying to achieve, then there’s, it’s not, it’s not, you’re not gonna get the ROI that you’re really thinking. And so what I love about, what you’re doing and your focus is that it’s about, it’s people focus and it’s about bringing people the skills to be able to use the tools to get the job done, and understand, you know, what they’re doing. And so I am, I, I really, really love that focus. So, we’ve, we’ve been in our industry, we’ve been way too technology and tool focused for too long. So it’s great to see this movement that you sort of like sort of kicked off for everyone. Everyone. Oh,

Jordan Morrow: Well, thank you. I mean, it, you, you, I think you’re spot on though. Like, sorry, I keep itching. My mustache keeps itching my nose. It’s hilarious. but it, it’s one of those, I think you just said that so well is, don’t get me wrong, tools and technology and data and analytics are freaking awesome. They’re awesome. You and I think that, but the vast majority of people are not like us, right And so if I, I like to use the hypothetical example of let’s say you have a company of 10,000 employees. How many are truly gonna be data and analytics professional by title at most, maybe 500. That’s 9,500 people that should be using data to some capacity in their roles and in their jobs. And so 9,500 people need to be confident in their data literacy skills. And one thing that I teach is that everybody has data literacy skills.

Jordan Morrow: I don’t like if someone says, oh, your data illiterate, that’s stupid, right I’ve got my, my phone, my smartphone right here, right Yeah. What do people think I’m gonna be doing if I’m traveling Probably gonna check the city’s location on the weather app to figure out what the weather is predicted to be. That’s using data to make a decision. What we need to do is focus on empowering individuals in a company to make them comfortable doing that, whatever their role is. It could be finance, marketing, logistics, supply chain, whatever the role is, can we enhance your skills enough that make you comfortable to use data in some way to make smarter decisions And the people focus is so immense. It’s, it’s funny, I was doing a session this week and, I talked about the try data, and if you remember Zelda the game Mm-Hmm.

Jordan Morrow: , it had a triforce Mm-Hmm. . Well, I created the try data and it’s data-driven problem solving data-driven decision-making data-driven execution. And the first time I had anybody ask a very cool question was, what is, or who is the ganor, which is the enemy, right In Zelda Mm-Hmm. of data or, or however he phrased it. And I said, it’s culture number one, roadblock to data and analytics success is culture. Well, culture is not a tool or technology, it’s people. And so we have to invest properly there giving the skills that they need. When done properly, man, think about how cool it is. But I’m, I’m with you. We, in the data space, the data space is focused so heavily on TE tools and technology that they got lost. And that’s, that’s okay because we can recognize it and do something about it, but we do have to have that self-awareness that that’s what has occurred. Now let’s remedy it and make it better.

Dave Mariani: Yeah. You know, look, I, I really love the concept of being, teaching people how to rewrite and speak data. And that’s, and that’s kind of what it kind of gets down to. And you know, like, look, we, I’m a tool vendor. Like that’s what AtScale does, is we produce tools. but, you know, one of the things of those tools we support Excel in a, in a live connection, Jordan. And, and, and it’s amazing how many people use Excel and how they all sort of default there. And it comes back down to it’s what they’re comfortable with, right Yeah. It’s like they understand the spreadsheet metaphor, and so they’re gonna use the tool that they’re most comfortable with. And, and that’s kind of like, it’s a little bit sad because there’s so much more powerful tools out there when it comes to visualizations and, and analytics.

Dave Mariani: and a lot of that is just because, you know, it’s like, they don’t wanna take the time or they’re don’t have the confidence really to sort of move upstream there. but, but, but so, so just when it comes to data literacy, you know, it’s like how do, how do organizations sort of adopt data literacy without it just becoming a buzzword or a checkbox Jordan Yeah. I mean, it’s, you, I think you advise a lot of companies on how to do this. So can you give us some, give the listeners some free advice here for some of the things that they can do to avoid the trap of just, of us, of just, paying lip service to data

Jordan Morrow: Literacy Yeah, you’re spot on. I mean, there’s no doubt the, the data industry is full of buzzwords, right You go back to 2012 in October, when Harvard says sexiest job, the 21st century is the data scientist. And you heard big data and you hear hoodoop, data literacy is a part of that. And I have that self-awareness to say, look, for some people it is a buzzword. And I think what it does is it gives them something they can check off. Oh, we’ve had a data literacy session, we’ve Right, watched five trainings. Give me a break. That’s not gonna cut it. Right Yeah. And so let talking about Excel, bringing in vis all of that to really, to, the first tip I could give is to really help people grow is people have to have a true understanding of what data literacy is, why it matters, and what is its purpose, right

Jordan Morrow: The purpose is not to turn everybody into a data scientist or a data engineer or a data analyst. The purpose is to empower people with comfort. To your point, Excel is something they’re comfortable with. Mm-Hmm. . So if we just send them a training that says, now you have to do Tableau without really giving them a background. Now you need to use Power BI without giving them the background. And maybe most importantly, without giving them data literacy skills to do stuff, what will they default to You’re gonna default to just using charts, excel, all these things, versus let’s implement a holistic outlook and strategy around empowering a workforce, right Mm-Hmm. , getting leadership on board. We have to get leadership to have a very, very good understanding of what data literacy is, what data and analytics is. Why do we do this Not, Hey, invest in this tool, and that’s our data strategy.

Jordan Morrow: No, right It’s, it’s more to it. So there’s an organization that I’m working with right now overseas, and it’s really cool because it’s a fire and rescue service, and they have come to me and asked for advice what they could do. And somewhere I’m gonna fly there and help them. And what we’re looking at is, number one, the first meeting that I, I I think we’re gonna have is with leadership. Do you really understand this Mm-Hmm. not, we’re investing in this because we hear it. Do you understand it Mm-Hmm. . And if I can make sure they understand that, perfect. Now they understand it. Another area I have to train is the mid-level leadership. Mm-Hmm. There’s a group out of, I think they’re headquartered in Florida. And what the reason I say mid-level leadership is a lot of times with data literacy, here’s a big tip for any listener, A lot of times we talk about getting the c-suite or executives on board, and then we focus on the leaders, or not the leaders.

Jordan Morrow: Mm-Hmm. the learners, right It’s who’s gonna participate in the program. There’s a massive gap in doing it just like that. And here’s why. Who has to lead all the learners It’s not the c-suite. Mm-Hmm. . They’re the ones investing in it, sharing it, cheerleading it. It’s mid-level managers. Mm-Hmm. . So we have to train them to understand what data literacy is, why it matters, and we have to train them on how to lead the program. I think this is exactly, or part of what Valerie Logan’s data Lodge company does, is it’s training people to lead data literacy initiatives in their organization, if I’m not mistaken. Right. You have to train that mid-level. And so I think a lot of times what we see is leadership says, yeah, here’s some budget, go with data literacy, and then companies have their HR group, or they’re learning and development invest in a program.

Jordan Morrow: If the leaders are not trained, we’re gonna run into problems. And so then finally, another thing, and then we can go onto other questions, but we need to assess people where they are. Mm-Hmm. , we’re not trying to turn ’em into data, data analysts, data scientists, engineers. I don’t need you to learn Python code. I don’t need you to do those things. Can we figure out where your gaps are, what your role is, how data pertains to your role, and then we’ll provide training to help you succeed in those areas. Versus everybody has a one-stop shop. This is what you’re learning. You’re going through two eight hour days of a workshop. Okay. They might learn a couple things, but does that mean they can implement it after No. So assess prescriptive learning paths that take you after that. So we make ’em comfortable with reading, working with speaking the language of data.

Dave Mariani: So Jordan, like, like these mid-level, mid-level managers and, and executives, they have day jobs, right So they’re busy. Yep. So how do you create the motivation to actually get this done In other words, you know, it’s so, so what’s, what’s the motivation for those mid-level managers to actually, you know, push it down and, and, and promote data literacy in their, in their organizations It,

Jordan Morrow: It needs to truly become a holistic part of the overall business strategy, because they’re not gonna sit there and say, if a senior leader has a different marketing program that they’re putting into place, those managers in marketing are not gonna be like, eh, I’ve got a day job. It is their job. And so leadership needs to invest in this in such a way that makes it, this is kind of the first time I’ve ever said it this way, I think, but that it is a part of what they do. It is not a secondary thing. And so one of the things that I talk about is if you need leadership to get on board, I, I fully love having evangelists in the companies trying to go to leadership and make it happen. The problem with that is, you’re in the company. And so it’s, I think, harder bring in an outside expert to talk.

Jordan Morrow: I do this, right And this is not necessarily self-promotion to get me invited. It is literally bring in someone outside of your company to do this. I’ve got a retail company I’m speaking with at the end of the month of February who they have an internal data summit. I’m the only external speaker coming, and they’re all internal. And I think that’s awesome. If you’re talking about internal initiatives and things like that, what we need is to have an outside voice, go to the leaders and say, look, this is what matters. Here’s why. And then bring use cases and studies along. While I was at Qlik, we launched the data literacy index that talks about the financial value or the r oi, if you will, of data literacy. It’s one thing for me to go in there and say, Hey, this matters. If you’re an executive, what are some of the questions gonna ask

Jordan Morrow: You’re an executive, Dave. You’re gonna wanna know, what is my ROI, what is this gonna do for us Oh, here you go. Here’s your study. Here’s the skills gap. And then I think there is this intangible stuff. Mm-Hmm. If I’m a mid-level manager, some of us probably want to become an executive and move up. Doesn’t it intuitively just make sense that if you are better at using data, you’re gonna make smarter decisions. We’re not trying to get rid of the human element. I don’t wanna get rid of anybody’s gut feel, intuition ideas. I just wanna combine ’em with the data. That’s what I teach. If you’re a mid-level manager, you wanna do better at your job. Are there things that bother you in your job you don’t wanna do anymore Analyze ’em with the data and see if you even have to do it. And so there are these intangible, intuitive things that people can take on that help you just do your job better.

Jordan Morrow: Like I, I’ve asked before, how, if I’m speaking in an engagement, how many of you do not have a busy job Don’t raise your hands. Right I joke. Because if your boss is with you, you don’t wanna show them. You don’t think you have a busy job. And the reality is name one person who says they do not have a lot to do. What if we can give you a skill that will empower you to prioritize, to understand how to do those things better Does it take investment Yes. But we have so much time. Like I get, I get frustrated, it’s like a soapbox for me when people say, I don’t have time. There are 1,440 minutes in a day. I guarantee I can find you some time. Mm-Hmm. , we just get distracted, right Mm-Hmm. , myself included. Everybody does. So it, there, sorry, I’m kind of all over on this because there’s so many pieces to it, right Yeah. And that’s, I, I just, I think full mindset, and that’s actually a little hint to where my fourth book will go around. The mindset for data and analytics matters so much. And can we create the right mindset for executives, mid-level learners for the, or mid-level leaders for the learners and the culture of the organization.

Dave Mariani: You know, it’s like, one of the keys for me, at least in, in my career, to sort of keeping people engaged, and, and, and, and really driving great retention is that you have, you know, everybody wants to keep learning, and, and, and, and know that what they’re learning is valuable to their next job. If there’s gonna be a next job. it’s like, it, to me, it’s like you invest not just in technology or in in business. You invest in people. And, and that will come back to, you know, multiple fold. So, so I, I love how something like data literacy can really be a, a tangible takeaway that can, can really allow people to get much, much more advanced and much more productive and, and take those skills and do whatever they wanna do with them, whether it’s in the company or some other company or some other function.

Jordan Morrow: Well can, but you,

Dave Mariani: You, but you said it though, Jordan, you said to that, someone like me is gonna ask about, okay, what’s the value to the business So I wanna poke on this in just a minute for for a second. So, ROI, how do you measure the, the impact of a more data literate organization How, how, so how do you do, I mean, I know that’s a, that’s a tough question. Yeah. But, but, but what are some of the things that you’ve seen that sort of have worked Jordan, from that perspective

Jordan Morrow: Yeah. The first thing I would say is to Google click data literacy index to any listener and study. Okay. The study that was done, because you, you’re exactly right. This is a very interesting thing to me, right And I’m dealing with it at my company. I was brought to my company to be essentially, like, like a chief data officer. I head up data and analytics. And my directive, what was it, three months into my, my gig was we have a new product coming. That’s where my focus was like 99% of my time. In fact, I think I frustrated internal people because I would have to tell ’em, based on the directive I’m given from my boss, who is the CTO Nope. You’re not. I, I can’t do much there, or we’re not supposed to. And gratefully, my, my boss takes the bullet on that and says, no, that’s what I told him to say. But when you’re building that out, right There’s that new product, didn’t have customers that didn’t have things. Now we, now we have stuff hidden and now we can provide value. Mm-Hmm. . But you bring up such an interesting point. ’cause if you think about data and analytics, like, let me take it on a different way. How do we measure the impact of PowerPoint, right Yeah. Yeah. How do we measure that But it’s everywhere.

Dave Mariani: I don’t the company, I don’t

Jordan Morrow: Know. I don’t know exactly. Right And so, but it’s used all over the place to convey information that absolutely has a direct impact on the business. Yes. And so it is, data is similar because it is a tool or technology. Now that study, I believe probably will show some of the measurements, and maybe it doesn’t, it’s been so long that I’ve been in it, but it showed that top tier data literate organizations have more value. Mm-Hmm. And it showed that I, what are the ones that had return on equity was better, return on sales was better. Okay. Intuitively, that makes sense because yeah, we’re making smarter decisions with data. But here’s how some of the things that companies need to do to measure this or to see it working. Number one, you absolutely need to assess your organization with their data literacy or data and analytics skills.

Jordan Morrow: Mm-Hmm. Or also assess data and analytics usage. Mm-Hmm. Benchmark yourself. Mm-Hmm. Follow it. Maybe every quarter, every six months, or every year. Are we seeing improvement here Mm-Hmm. , one thing that leaders can do is it’s, it’s a subtle nuance or a subtle changes. I want you to always ask, can you share with me what data you use to back up your decision here And I think that is such a subtle thing that leaders can do. Because if they come at me and they’re wishy-washy or things like that, I might, I love that. I might go right back at them and say, you can’t be wishy-washy on this. Would you please go back and find me some data to do this Now sometimes I get it, we’re mm-Hmm. Put on a rope. It’s gotta be quick and all of that. But think about being proactive versus reactive.

Jordan Morrow: So much of what we do in business is a reactive thing. Data and analytics, especially when we get to predictive and prescriptive analytics. The third and fourth levels, if I can call ’em that, that should be the data showing us what we could or should be doing. How many companies are good at predictive and prescriptive analytics I can’t name one that is really, really fully good. I get there companies like an Amazon or a Netflix, these different companies that use data, but holistically not so sure. And so, but that one is such a subtle nuance. Show me the data that you used on this. I love

Dave Mariani: That. I love that. It’s just, it’s just asking the question. I mean, that’s just, that’s just a change in behavior that is going to induce the right kind of, the, the right kind of response, right Yeah. and it’s as simple as that. That’s a great takeaway, really

Jordan Morrow: Is. And I had the CTO of Qlik told me something, and I, I salute, I, he may still be it. I’m, I’m not sure if he is, his name’s Mike Potter. And after he became CTO, he and I were talking and he said he changed something to the meetings that were happening. Mm-Hmm. usually his team would come and present the dashboards, if I can say it this way, that they were building. He said, no more. You’re gonna send the dashboards in advance. You’re now gonna come to the meeting. And I forget how he said it. You’re no longer just accountable to the dashboards or for the dashboards, you’re accountable to them or whatever. Mm-Hmm. And so, instead of presenting dashboards in the meeting, it became, you better understand the data. You better know what’s happening there. ’cause I’m gonna come at it made people uncomfortable, but I love it.

Jordan Morrow: Think about that transition. I don’t need you to present a dashboard to me. If you build it right, and you build a data story, right I should be able to look at that dashboard and hopefully quickly in a simple manner, understand what I’m looking at. Then if I have a 15, 30 minute conversation with you, I might have 10 questions. Now, this is an uncomfortable thing. Hence why data literacy matters so much. Because, if I do that and they can’t answer it because they’re not skilled enough, remember, we all have data literacy. But if we’re not comfortable of moving beyond just a dashboard to like diagnostic analytics, getting to the why behind things, then we need to upskill. Because I don’t wanna just look at dashboards and see what’s happening. I wanna know why it’s happening. And everyone who’s building those dashboards is now accountable for the information that resides there in so that I can answer questions or ask questions and get answers.

Jordan Morrow: So that, just like that question, show me the data that’s like Mike Potter. Show me answers, not just show me a dashboard. Mm-Hmm. . And I think those are just nuances that can help drive a truly data on the data-driven podcast, right A datadriven organization. It’s subtle things. It’s not, Hey, we just built the coolest machine learning and blah, blah, blah, blah. No, it’s, we use this data, we found this, these are our thoughts and our decisions. And then you execute on it. You iterate on it. Look at how powerful that is versus for so long, what companies are trying to do.

Dave Mariani: Yeah. I love that. You gotta be able to tell a story with the data. Right That’s good. Sort of getting into being able to speak about data. Like, and if, you know, for me it’s like, I think it was, one of my bosses in the past, you know, would say, you know, basically I would present something and he would say, so what, and that’s like, go, you got me. You know, like that, that’s really is like, all I’m doing is just throwing out data, rather than actually, you know, actually coming up with some recommended actions based on that data. And that’s a, that’s a, a world of difference there. So, so you’ve also sort of just poked on data, building a data-driven organization. Mm-Hmm. This is a data-driven podcast. So I wanna, I wanna sort of move on to that a little bit because this is something you’re also an expert at and have a, a lot of opinions on. So, so again, data-driven data-driven, and data-driven organizations is another buzzword. You know, it can be a buzzword out there, Jordan. So what advice can you give to data leaders for truly building a data-driven organization And then what does that mean to you What does data-driven organization mean to you

Jordan Morrow: Yeah. By my book, my second book, , no Self-promotion right there, my second book is called Be Data Driven. Right And where that book came from, if I’m, if I remember my history right, of me writing it during the early months of the pandemic, guess what became a massive buzzword data-driven. Right And I think it was because the pandemic forced your hand, it forced a company’s hand, and it probably illuminated some gaps. So prior to the pandemic, I worked remotely already. That was not new to me. and I would travel one to four times probably a month. And, so I thought my calendar was gonna open up when the pandemic hit. No, it got busier. And I think it was because, my goodness, anecdotally, a thought I’ve had is they didn’t know what to do or weren’t as good with data. They probably knew well, maybe didn’t know what to do, maybe had ideas and thought they were more data-driven than they were.

Jordan Morrow: And so what do they do Call it that nerd Jordan. And, and chat. Right And so, being data-driven in its simplest form, and some people don’t like that term, they like data informed better. Mm-Hmm. I don’t get caught up in the words. Right Okay. To me, data-driven does not get rid of the human element. I already said that, right Is I want a combination of the human element and the data element. What data-driven means is an organization uses data to better itself, to ob obtain or achieve its objectives. There you go. There’s datadriven. Does that mean we got rid of our gut feel or ideas No. I wanna combine the data with my ideas, and sometimes my ideas probably have to be squashed. We have to get rid of as best we can. All bias, bias permeates throughout our work, no matter what we try.

Jordan Morrow: Right I’m a Chicago Cubs fan. I have a dog laying on the ground by me here. His name is Wrigley. That’s how big a Cubs fan I am. Right So when I taught baseball, hopefully I can get rid of bias around my love for the Chicago Cubs. If we’re on projects at work and the data shows us that our project is not what it should be, don’t hold onto it. Please understand the data and do it. So being data-driven is, is creating that culture and utilizing data and analytics as those tools, which is what they are. And the technology, it’s another tool to just help us meet our business goals and objectives. Great book out there. I don’t, I don’t have it sitting it by Simon Aspen Taylor, if I said his last name, right. it’s about, I believe, God, my mind just drew a blank data and business strategy, I believe, or data strategy for business leaders, something.

Jordan Morrow: Anyway, look his book up, and I did a masterclass with him, and that’s basically, I’m gonna mess up his wording. It’s like meeting business objectives. Anyway, I’m screwing everything up here. That might not have been exactly how we said it, but that’s, that’s what I’m want us to think of. Mm-Hmm. is your data strategy needs to be coupled and be an absolute part of your business strategy. Don’t create it over here. And it’s isolation. And no offense to a lot of companies, they probably don’t have good data strategies. I hate to say it that way, but they don’t, they stink. And, oh, go ahead. I see you got an idea there.

Dave Mariani: Yeah. You know, well, you know, Jordan, and from that perspective, right It’s like it is about building a data culture. So Yeah. Why is it that, so it’s, when you talk about business strategy and you talk about the c-suite, is it that it’s, do you need to have, you know, a chief data officer at the table to make sure that, that that data and analytics gets considered as part of the data strategy Or what are some of the things you’ve seen work in terms of making sure that people, are, are, are you truly building at the right culture and building a data-driven organization from the top down

Jordan Morrow: Unequivocally The answer is yes. You need a chief data officer that sits at the table, not is left to the side. They need to be a part of the conversations around strategy and stuff. In fact, I think it might have been right before we logged into this, or around that time, I saw a LinkedIn post that was, oh, I wonder if I still have it up. Let me, let me quickly see, I don’t wanna block things. I don’t know if I have it up. That was basically like, if you pay a Chief Data Officer X salary, is that right Or is that mean your investor, right. Or something And it was a low salary. My answer was like, no exclamation point done, period. End of my comment. Because , if you’re paying, let’s say A-C-E-O-I, I’ll go with numbers here, 500,000 US dollars, and you pay a chief data off, or a chief marketing officer, let’s say 350,000, chief Operating Officer, 400,000 A CDO, a hundred thousand, pardon

Jordan Morrow: The, like, what the crap are you doing Mm-Hmm. , that does not show to me that that company is investing there. It does show to me, maybe I shouldn’t say investing there. It shows some idea that it’s needed and that there is something there. So I can give some positive light to that, but it is not showing me that you buy in enough to understand what needs to happen. Like, to me, think about it, think about truly the power that data presents to an organization. It should be one of the most vital roles to any company around the world. There. The, this company that I’m going to at the end of February, one of the most famous brands in the world, and it had a supply or a stocking issue, last year, does not have a chief data officer think how simple it is to utilize data correctly with modeling and stuff. I get that it’s not perfect. It is not an Oracle, it’s not a pot at the end of the rainbow, but it can inform your decisions. Think about how that can empower a retail store to not have stocking issues and this and that, that that’s what I mean is how does this company, one of the most famous brands you’ll ever see, not invest fully in a full blown chief data officer

Dave Mariani: You know ’cause I, I think Jordan’s, like, people still think of, of a data and analytics as part of it. And so I already got a, I already got somebody leading it. It’s a CIO for example. So it’s very different to have like the CDO be in that chain of it. and then now they’re just a line item there, as opposed to having a seat at the table where, you know, they are, you know, they’re rubbing shoulders with the CIO, right So it’s like, it’s, it, it is very different things, but I think we’re still stuck in the past there when it comes to where that role fits in the organization. And right now it’s, I, it’s, I don’t think it’s top line. And I think you’re absolutely right that it needs to be, if you really wanna drive that

Jordan Morrow: At, at one point A CMO, a chief marketing officer was something new. And how many people didn’t invest in that, right Or a CIO at some point was something new. A CTO was something new. Mm-Hmm. . Yeah. It takes time. I get it. We’re we’re literally moving boulders and mountains to make it happen, because we’re just slow. And I get that. That’s, I’m, I’m it, I don’t like it. I would love every company to snap their fingers and have those things, but you’re exactly right. Like if you, if you put it with a CTO, like, I’m very lucky I report to A CTO who basically is like, dude, you, you know this. I don’t, there were some reasons it wasn’t a chief data officer right off the bat. I, I get it. But the investment in what we’re doing is there, right Mm-Hmm. versus a lot of companies if, if it’s CTO I’m given freedom to really do what I want. A lot of times it’s about the technology. If it’s the CTO, they have different directions. They have different things that they’re doing. Mm-Hmm. That does Mm-Hmm. Just ’cause you’re A-C-I-O-C or CTO does not mean you understand data. And so that’s where it’s this, as you could tell, I’m kind of passionate about things. It’s, it’s one of those where

Dave Mariani: A little bit,

Jordan Morrow: Just a little, and, and gratefully, I, I have a voice to say it. Right And, and it’s one of those that I wish we could snap our fingers and it’s tough. I do see shifting. I do see,

Dave Mariani: I do too. Yeah.

Jordan Morrow: The evolution is happening and that’s good. but here’s the thing. We live in such a fast-paced world. Will it catch, like, catch up to where it needs to be fast enough or will it be surpassed Yeah. I’m not blind to the fact that certain things can occur that make some think of chat GBT and what that is doing to the world right now. It is literally probably gonna revolutionize things. ’cause Microsoft has invested heavily. If you don’t think Google’s gonna be doing stuff and other players are gonna do stuff, we’re altering it. And so this is where data literacy has such a cool place. Chat. GBT can spit out all this information, can write an essay for you, et cetera. What if you still don’t understand data at that point You might not need to build the visualization. Maybe AI will do it for you, but do you know how to interact with it and make a decision with it That’s why data literacy to me, is so cool. Like you were talking earlier about, one of the things you can tell people is we’re living in a data driven world, hands down. Mm-Hmm. Do you have skills to doubt Keep up. Doubt. Doubt. Do you have skills to keep up And if you don’t just develop ’em. I’m not telling you to become too advanced, but get comfortable there.

Dave Mariani: That’s where I, I I do, I do love that. look, I, and, and, so well, I, gosh, we, Jordan, we could continue to talk for another hour here. Yes. this is, so, this is so fascinating. So, but, you mentioned you sort of teased that you’re working on something new in terms of, you’ve written three books. You’re, you’re a prolific author. I recommend everybody out there, all the listeners to, to, to, to go and and read your first three books. So what, can you, can you give us a little teaser What do you got in the, in the works, Jordan

Jordan Morrow: Yeah. Yeah. So, well, I’ll give two teasers. ’cause book three is not published yet. It comes out Okay. I think it’s scheduled to be June of this year. and that one, so people get an idea around, I’ve got be data literate, be data driven, and then b, data analytical, which is the four levels of analytics. And I don’t come at it. There are books out there that teach you how to code. There are statistic books out there. I don’t come at it that way. I think every book I write comes more from the person or people perspective, right Mm-Hmm. . And so it’s kind of funny, my publisher said, and hopefully they don’t get mad that I said this here or get me in trouble, but they were like, don’t use the personal examples. Keep it to business. It’s like, heck, no. Personal examples help people relate to my material.

Jordan Morrow: Yes. Absolute. And, and thankfully I and I, my books sell well. And so they, I, they didn’t force anything upon me. I kept it, and it was probably more a suggestion, and that’s great. but my, my, one of the things you’re gonna start to see me writing more on this year is about the mindset that people need to have. Mm-Hmm. , I think to me, like data literacy is one thing, but even before data literacy, and at the time I didn’t know it, but it’s such a big thing for me now, is do you have the mindset to do this Mm-Hmm. . And so this year it’s gonna be about the mindset, for data and analytics. I, I’ve gotten out and actually, submitted to trademark the phrase meditative data and analytics. Because when you think about meditation, fitness, and all these different things, and I’m, I’m huge into it, right

Jordan Morrow: It’s, I want to apply mindset, mindfulness, and these different things because hopefully we can remove the intimidation around it. So just stay tuned. Yes. This year is kind of the, the mindset revolution for me. It’s, it’s like that next iteration, if you will. I, which is something I teach the iterative mindset, right This is the next iteration of data literacy, is can we develop within ourselves a mindset to succeed no matter what happens with data and analytics, whether it’s a technology shift, whether it’s, I or anything else that might occur in data and analytics. Do we have the mindset that will help us approach it correctly to make it successful Mm-Hmm.

Dave Mariani: And have the confidence to, to, to, to take that leap. Absolutely. I love it. This has been fantastic. Thanks. I’ve learned so much. I hope everybody who’s listening, as, as, as, as, learns as much as I have. and please everybody go and, and, and, and read, what Jordan has written. and I know you’re, I know you, you help companies, really understand and move up the curve when it comes to data literacy and the like. So, Jordan, thank you so much for all this free advice, , and, would love to talk to you more. So thanks a lot for, for, for joining me today.

Jordan Morrow: Oh, it’s my pleasure. I think we just need to make this recurring podcast at some point.

Dave Mariani: I completely agree. Thanks Jordan.

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