Insights focused - Lesson 1: your reflections


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CIPD Staff

17 Jan, 2020 11:18

Welcome to the online community learning space for the lesson: Getting started with insights focused. Use this forum to discuss the community reflective activity in the lesson. Read the contributions of others, ‘liking’ those you find helpful and add your unique reflections to the conversation by replying to this post. Click here to return to the lesson page at any time.

Community reflective activity:
Share with the community a barrier you have faced in gathering insights and what suggestions you have for overcoming this. 

  • I must confess to having a bit of a love hate relationship with insights. I am often quick to jump to solutions (generally intuitively) without any clear evidence. Yet when I do have insights it gives me a lot of confidence. When influencing others in particular. I read Daniel Kahneman's book Thinking, Fast and Slow and that has really encouraged me to slow down (at some point in my thinking or as part of a project) and take time for insights.

    The video reminds me that this is a process, and one that is vital. Good quote ‘you might be solving the wrong problem or one that doesn’t exist’. But of course data is just data until/unless you draw insights from it. Without it you are doing stuff, versus solving stuff.
  • Anecdotally, the original online feedback we received from our customer survey where I used to work was confined to answers to what seemed to be a fairly broad set of questions. It became apparent that addressing the very few issues raised there was not improving scores, & only when space for verbatim comments was given that the real issues could be recorded & addressed (& eventually appropriate questions incorporated into the survey whilst retaining verbatim comments to continue to capture what the survey missed). The lesson this taught me was that even the most apparently broad insight gathering resource can potentially exclude important data & this needs to be addressed as best as possible at the design stage

  • In reply to Tim:

    At my last job the issues we faced with our People Survey showed that on comparing year-on-year results, the same issues were being recorded, and analysis of the Action Plans arising from the Survey showed that they were limited in their scope for success, or for addressing the issues highlighted in the Survey. So from that persepctive we were at least able to ascertain that we needed to A) ask the right questions in the Survey to ensure we were devising effective Action Plans, and B) revisit those Action Plans regularly to check their progress and effectiveness.
  • I am currently re-developing training material for a course I inherited and have presented six times in Saudi Arabia. As I rework the material while in lock down due to Covid 19 I am battling to focus on my insights from my experience on the ground in a different country and culture, but have (thankfully) some strong relationships with students who have experienced the training and am able to network with them over Zoom and Skype to sound out ideas and reworked material. The college where I present the material is closed (again due to Covid 19) so I am unable to confer and discuss with them. I am hoping that the students who are engaging are representative of those I will train in the future (they are all graduate engineers and not shy about offering their opinions,) but I do worry that the new material might not be met as enthusiastically by the institution!
  • One of the barriers we often face in L&D is working in an environment in which, on the one hand, managers are not suitably informed about the value of evidence building (i.e. equipped to have a productive conversation) and on the other hand both they, and we, are often under pressure to deliver 'results' quickly (regardless of whether they are the right results). Establishing good insight requires an organisational culture that values and is open to developing it, and this can be hard to overcome (particularly when that bias exists in your own team).
  • I really try to be evidence based in my approach but sometimes I am guilty of agreeing with someone's answer to a problem, then going away and finding out other information - I need to start doing that first!
    We are currently looking at working hours for a staff member working between 2 sites and what each site expects them to do - I will really drill down further into the evidence before just going along with what sounds like a good idea from someone else.
  • In reply to Stuart:

    Think I need to give that book a try!
  • In my previous Operations experience, the biggest barriers were about gaining honest / correct insight internally, and insight which was consistent across the board. Managers all had responsibility for their own input/output with no follow up or check to see if this was actually being achieved. So when looking at high turnover for eg, a theme which the company had a big issue with, it was discovered that exit interviews were not being completed as assumed. It also then became apparent that Managers were too busy and this was one of the things to fall by the wayside. Managers equally were not the best placed people to conduct anyway in order to collect as accurate and honest information as possible. Had this simple task sat within the HR remit, it could have been completed upon every actioned leaver, and confidentially, securing the right data to complete an analysis of the issue.

    I believe Stuart's post also hit the nail on the head a bit for me, in Operations you are expected to have a resolution the instant a team member or client raises an issue - and this can often create a bad habit of identifying/offering instant solutions based on history or situation itself, rather than trying to identify the cause - due to time constraints and workload - very much constantly fighting fires.
  • This video really helped me reflect on my approach, sometimes our roles seem so busy that it seems easier to opt for the quick solution and get the problem (or possibly it wasn't even a problem) resolved, which may not always be the best.
    I also feel when you have gathered the evidence to base your decisions on it does give you alot more confidence.