By Gary Cokins, Founder of Analytics-Based Performance Management LLC

Ever notice how the personalities and dispositions of animals often resemble Lion1humans? An organization’s pursuit of adopting analytics-based enterprise performance management involves personalities of all types. How are they like the creatures that populate our planet? Here is a zoology of analogous types of employees that you might recognize.

  • Lions – These are the managers whom co-workers respect. They are bold and lead their pride. With analytics-based enterprise performance management, their boldness enables them to have the will to try emerging managerial concepts. These include strategy maps and their companion, the balanced scorecard; activity-based costing to measure product, channel, and customer profitability; and driver-based budgeting with rolling financial forecast updates. In the wild, males seldom live long due to injuries sustained from continuous fighting with rivals. In business, lion-like managers will encounter conflicts in their pursuit and support of these managerial concepts.
  • Peacocks – These are those employees who like to look good to everyone. Peacocks cannot fly; this type of employee’s contribution to implementing analytics-based enterprise performance management is limited. They like to take credit and display their plumage, but they have not earned the credit they presume to claim.
  • Owls – These are those wise sages who truly understand what analytics-based enterprise performance management is all about. They tend to be quiet and are careful observers. An owl’s survival strategy depends on stealth and surprise. It would be nice if the owl-like employee would speak up more and tell the lions what is really happening. Who is on board, and who are the naysayer obstacles to applying progressive methods that can result in better decisions – like applying business analytics?
  • Rabbits – These are those ready-fire-aim project managers who are impatient with slow progress. Sometimes their sense of urgency is needed to quickly move things along. They endorse techniques like pilot projects and rapid prototyping with iterative remodeling to get sufficient results with speed so that others understand what benefits the method can bring. But sometimes, their haste can land the project in a ditch.
  • Tortoises – Like the owls, these are very smart workers. They move slowly, but they know where the project should go. Most everyone knows the tortoise and the hare fable. The tortoise won the race because it figured out that having perseverance and a sense of direction is best in the long term.
  • Skunks – These employees are bad news for analytics-based enterprise performance management projects. Just when there is some traction with getting organizational buy-in from others, they stink up the project with unsubstantiated fears that the project has little or no payoff. They need to be kept distant from the project.
  • Armadillos – These are thick-skinned employees whose egos are near impenetrable, just like an armadillo’s armor. They can handle attacks from naysayers who fear change. Armadillos are prolific diggers with sharp claws. Similarly, their analogous employees are heads-down hard workers who want to see the job done.
  • Crocodiles – These employees wait ever so quietly until they see an opportunity. Then, when the moment is right, they snap into a debate about whether the project is valid and will lead to improvements. They believe in the project and rarely lose.
  • Horses –Workhorses are invaluable. They work long hours making sure that correct and clean data is ready for input to drive the analytics-based enterprise performance management projects to yield the insights and actions the projects are designed to deliver. Horses can sleep standing on their legs. This is good for late-hour efforts. Thoroughbred racehorse-type employees are a special breed. They not only work hard but also work fast.

Any of these sound familiar? I’ll bet that you can associate some of these animal traits with members of your own company or even team – or perhaps they exhibit different animal behaviors? Though please resist the urge to tell them, as it’s not the intention of this blog to offend or cause internal issues! Join me in my next blog as I continue this light-hearted examination of the corporate menagerie.

This blog originally published on CFO Knowledge and is republished with permission.