Soft Skills are vital for Data Governance Success

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Since 2003 I have been helping individuals and organisations implement Data Governance and since 2011 I’ve been running training courses on Data Governance.  One of the interesting things that I have noticed is that most people think data governance is a technical or analytical subject, but in reality the majority of Data Governance activities are undertaken by business users. I have discovered the most successful Data Governance schemes are run as change management initiatives, led and supported by individuals with well developed soft skills.

Passion, enthusiasm and the ability to motivate others towards achievement of a goal, whether in Data Governance or any major change programme, will stack the odds of success in your favour.  To some of you reading this, Data Governance may seem a strange thing to be passionate about, but consider this:

If you’re not buying it, they’re not buying it!

And that means bad news for everyone.

Being a strong communicator is also a huge asset. You will need to convince people on a large scale, and influence them individually when proposing new approaches to governing their data. As with any change there will be resistance and having the soft skills to deal with that resistance positively definitely works to your advantage.

If you are currently working on a Data Governance initiative and feel that communication skills are not your strong suit, don’t worry – they can be learned through training, coaching and of course practice!

On my standard one day course there is a section entirely devoted to the soft skills you need to be successful at Data Governance.  The day is also full of group exercises and discussions to help attendees practice sharing their passion for the subject.

The format of the course has proved very successful and although I have received repeated requests to make my course available online, I have always worried whether it would work as well in that format.  However, I also have to acknowledge that taking a day out of the office and travelling to attend a course is just not possible for some people.  I advocate using a pragmatic approach when implementing Data Governance and decided to apply that approach to the delivery of my training courses as well.  I still feel that being able to interact with and support the participants would be key so I have created an online course with different levels of support available.

Feedback from a pilot of the online course has been so positive that I am very pleased to announce the launch of my online course.  To find out more details click here.

And whatever stage you currently are in your Data Governance journey don’t forget that spending some time focussing on your soft skills will make a significant contribution to the success of your initiative.

Nicola Askham

I am an independent data management consultant. My experience in coaching both regulatory and non-regulatory organisations to design and implement full data governance frameworks, is unique within the Data Governance field. The coaching approach enables organisations to self manage the process beyond initial implementation, leaving them with a sustainable data governance framework. My coaching and Data Governance training workshops ensures that your data governance framework is embedded as an integral part of your business as usual policy. The benefit for you is that once the framework is in place your organisation will be confident, competent and compliant. I have worked in Data Management for twelve years, initially for a leading UK Bank, before becoming a consultant at the beginning of 2009. Most recently I have spent most of my time delivering data governance for Solvency II, but I also run Data Governance Training courses and coach organisations to implement data governance themselves. I am a Director and Committee Member of DAMA UK (I lead Phase 1 of the Data Quality Dimensions Working Group), on the Expert Panel of Dataqualitypro.com and regularly write and present internationally on data governance best practice. I regularly present both at home and internationally. I presented at the MDM Summit, the Business Analysis Conference and the Collibra European User Group in London and Enterprise Data World, Enterprise Dataversity and the IDQ Summit in the US in 2014. I presented at the Experian Data Quality Insurance Summit in March, deliverd tutorials and presentations at the Data Governance Conference in London in May, at DGIQ in San Diego in June and presenting at the Stibo MDM event in Berlin in October. I will be presenting next at the IRMUK EDBI Conference in London in November. Specialties: Data Governance, Master Data Management, Data Quality

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