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Inspire Your Team: 3 Lessons from an Analytics Manager

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Inspire Your Team: 3 Lessons from an Analytics Manager

I recently sat down with Cecile Horsky, Sr. Manager of Automation & Data Assurance at Walgreens, to talk about her path to sales analytics and key lessons learned. Although most people know Walgreens as the largest retail drug chain in the United States, they may not be aware that the company also has a b2b data-driven sales and business development practices. As a Salesforce wizard and builder of talented, multi-skilled teams, Cecile leads that charge.

Lesson #1 - Commit to innovation first.

As I spoke with Cecile, it struck me that, even though she may have had a “nontraditional” path to upper management, her commitment to innovation started from day one. Like approximately 29% of mothers in the United States, Cecile stayed at home to raise her family, until her daughter started the first grade. Cecile was inspired by her daughter’s first grade teacher, who encouraged her to apply to a reservation center at a travel company. Shortly after starting there, she was winning the highest add-on bookings and had the lowest cancellation rates of any agent, because she found that longer call lengths led to stronger travel reservations. Even though her lengthy calls were met with opposition, she backed up her tactics with her numbers, and wasn’t afraid to push back in order to make the company successful.

Lesson #2 - Choose people, not resumes.

Although Cecile is in a highly analytical role, heading up advanced analysis of Walgreens’ automation tools and reports, she has a strong commitment to her team. Instead of focusing her interviews on confirming line-items on a resume, Cecile has a conversation with her recruits. She’s looking for the appropriate skills, of course, but she also wants to see passion for their responsibilities in past roles.

Although “culture fit” is something oft-discussed in Silicon Valley, Cecile believes in a similar, if more direct version of the concept. She believes a great personality is as important as a wide skillset, because “a bad attitude that spreads outside my team hurts my team just as much as poor performance.” Instead of “culture fit,” she looks for an attitude that embraces change and a personality that supports innovation.

Lesson #3 - Motivation is real.

After hearing her speak, I know Cecile’s favorite verb is “inspire.” She’s one of a small pool of managers that believe their goal is not only to manage their reports, but to find out what motivates them. Her strategy for project assignments also maps to this idea--she always tries to align project assignments that map to the specific types of analysis her team members most enjoy.

Although Cecile expects hard work from her team, she backs up that expectation with a bevy of personalized positive reinforcement. For instance, after one member of her team completed a project that required a large amount of overtime, Cecile sent his wife to the spa for a day, since she knew that the extra work had put a strain on his entire family. Personal touches like these are the reason that Cecile’s employees have followed her from company to company over the years.

Although there are a number of articles on building the perfect big data team and finding good data science talent, Cecile’s career has shown that committing to that team is just as important as finding them. Building the perfect team isn’t easy, but maintaining it requires just the human-centric approach Cecile has championed throughout her career.

Written by GoodData Author  | 

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