OPINION1 March 2021

Driving the data agenda: Leadership in the algorithm era

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Impact Opinion

James Oates, UK analytics director at Nielsen, questions how analytical leaders in the space need to be.

Pen highlighting word 'leadership'

I engaged in a very interesting debate through LinkedIn recently, relating to a job advertisement for a director of analytics. I loved the discussion because it was centred on the capabilities required to take on a leadership role in data-based analytics. It caught my attention because it reflected one of the personal questions I challenge myself on – namely, how analytical do you need to be to lead in analytics?

I have spoken to colleagues and industry friends on this topic, because it is easy to feel like an imposter in analytic circles. The ability to go deep into Python, write algorithms or code, and even do the basic stuff such as advanced Excel manipulation are all out of my reach without giving more time to learning and deeper understanding. I am not afraid of learning new skills, but I don’t think it is necessarily what an analytic leader needs to drive the data agenda forward and deliver results through analytics.

The ...