Podcast

Lauren Stiebing 05 July 2021

How to Create the Right Balance Between Data and Intuition with Luisa Franzone

On this episode of the career success podcast we will be joined by Luisa Franzone the Head of Global Supply Chain at Bayer Consumer Health. Luisa is an experienced leader within the FMCG industry with a track record of consistent delivery of business targets through a number of diversified technical and business roles which in this occasion will be sharing with us her insight on how senior leader can create the right balance between data and intuition. She has complementary experiences in Research & Development, Supply Chain and Supply Management giving her a broader perspective on the whole Innovation and Production process.

Topics covered in this podcast:

  1. How do you suggest people to really get out of their comfort zone and start making gut decisions when necessary?
  2. do you have any tips or tricks of how to start going about doing that?
  3. What if people do make the wrong decision?
  4. What are some of the steps to go about fixing that with your management team or with your boss?
  5. Do you have any other advice how people navigate through this data, versus gut decision environment that we live in these days?

LAUREN:

– So, we’ll jump right in. I wanted to discuss with you a bit around data and how much data we have these days in our day to day job. But as executives really climb up the ranks, sometimes they really need to make quick decisions based on their gut. And that can seem overwhelming when you have so much data around, to not use that data and how to make gut decisions. And I think a lot of people really struggle with that. So, yeah. How do you suggest people to really get out of their comfort zone and start making gut decisions when necessary?

LUISA:

– Well, you know, data and the data-driven organization is the current context we are all living in our daily routine. But on the other side, there are many opportunities and many occasions where data are not available or they are too many.

LAUREN:

– Yeah.

LUISA:

– For example, when you start in a new role and you don’t know what you don’t know and the data are still a bit in the dark. In this case, the intuition is coming as a guiding stick, to navigate in the new environment.

LAUREN:

– Mm-hmm.

LUISA:

– On the other side, more and more just relying on intuition is not what is recommended because data, at the end, are really factually based, completely unbiased, and they can give you the right information.

LAUREN:

– Yeah.

LUISA:

– To make the most appropriate decisions. So, rely on both of intuition and the data is the best. And how to combine both data management and intuition, is really a trick to be successful. At least this is my experience.

LAUREN:

– Yeah. And do you have any tips or tricks of how to start going about doing that? For people that are a little bit nervous about it or trying to really find that right balance, Is there anything that you’ve done that you felt works quite well?

LUISA:

– I personally feel that, relying on your experience is always giving you the confidence to understand the new context and the context that you are working on. On the other point, relying on people that knows more than you on a specific subject. More you climb in the ranks, the less you know about all the details that you are going to manage. So, trusting the people that works with you, having the expert matter subject and develop with them a good relationship based on trust, is going to give you a lot of support on arriving to the right decision at the end. So, people management is for me one of the most important relievers to handle complex data management at the end.

LAUREN:

– Which does come down to great hiring as well. Making sure you have the right team, the right experts on board is super important for that as well. As you’re saying, if you can’t rely on them to be able to provide you with, let’s say, a summary of the smaller details, then it’s going to be really difficult to make those decisions.

LUISA:

– Definitely, definitely. I know, I believe it well. Having the right team is by far the most fundamental and useful weapon that you have to manage any project to any transformation. And I would prioritize the people capabilities over technical expertise also.

LAUREN:

– Okay.

LUISA:

– Because the technical expertise is a something that with time is becoming not obsolete, but for sure out of date. While the right people with the right capabilities and with the right learning agility to surf the waves of change, and the come with you through the transformation and through the journey, is going to be that the most powerful ammunition that you can think about. At least this is my experience.

LAUREN:

– What if people do make the wrong decision? What are some of the steps to go about fixing that with your management team or with your boss?

LUISA:

– Okay. I believe that, well, I don’t like the word failure. But some time failure is part of the experience, and the real trick is that failure is more. So, in principle, yes. There are wrong decision that they can be made and not the just based on the intuition but also based on data that have been extrapolated or judged the wrong way. How to manage the wrong decision, I believe that when you take a decision, you needed to go through the monitoring of the progress of the impact of your decision. The sooner you are able to judge if the direction that you are taking is wrong, the better in anticipating and drawing back and reconsidering what we have taken, and taking a different direction. So, close monitoring, without being a control freak, but the close monitoring of the progress of the decision which has been made, is for me another good way of managing the uncertainty that is always there when you take a decision in work environment, and also in private life, by the way. The other point is, whatever is going to happen anyway, it’s always a team decision. It’s never a personal decision. So, a problem is a problem only if you take the issue for yourself. When you start sharing the problem with somebody else, it becomes a challenge for the team itself. This is for me, the approach on managing the potential failure or potential unexpected challenges in the way forward.

LAUREN:

– Okay. And anything else you’d like to add to really help people navigate through this data, versus gut decision environment that we live in these days?

LUISA:

– I personally feel that intuition is a great capability that each of us as a human being, and that we need to trust our heart, our soul, on top of our brain. The experience that we have gathered in our previous life are always important when you enter in a new environment. And it can be a working environment, can be a personal new environment. Being able to develop partnership with people that are going to work with you, your team members, your colleagues, your bosses, and the develop this kind of a personal connection, is going to be crucial. More and more also in this new virtual context that we are living now. Having this kind of a trust with connection, is for me the most fundamental ammunition to manage a lot of data that are going to fall on our desk. That sometime are completely disconnected and then you have to put it together. But, while you put it together, always thanks to the connection with the people working with you.

LAUREN:

– Completely, completely agree. I have to say from the intuition perspective, myself being an entrepreneur, when you start a business and you’re all alone, all you really have is intuition. So, I think for myself, you learn quite quickly how to trust that. I’m coming from another angle of like, later when you have more data, then you start relying on data, but it’s a bit reverse from my side.

LUISA:

– Yes, but it’s always the same also for people that when you change your job and when you change your company. Yes, you have a lot of data because you gain all the information in order to take the right decision. But, when you enter in the new ocean, in a new pool, you start to swim in completely unknown waters. And in that case, the intuition is your first safety and core. After that, yes, you start the gathering data. You start the gathering experiences, and so data. But, intuition is the first anchor point. And do you need it to trust your intuition. You need to be confident on your intuition. Because if you’re not confident, you’re going to show weaknesses to the external world. This is going to undermine your self-confident in the end, and you enter in a vicious circle.

LAUREN:

– Sure.

LUISA:

– Trust yourself, is one of the most important point of building a bit of self-confident on yourself.

LAUREN:

– Well, Louisa, thank you so much for your inputs. I’m sure that our listeners have gotten some great tips and tricks, and maybe even built a bit of confidence in their intuition as well.

LUISA:

– Thank you very much. It’s been a pleasure. Take care. Bye.