Grow your data science skills at posit::conf(2024)

August 12th-14th in Seattle

02 Feb 2023

Building a story for the C-suite

Emi Zambada

Assistant Vice President, Annuity Distribution Intelligence at Nationwide Financial
We were joined by Emi as he talked about data science in insurance technology, his role at Nationwide, and managing teams through digital transformations.
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Episode notes

In talking with Emi about data science in insurance technology and managing teams through digital transformations, we also learned more about building a story for the C-suite in our own organizations. (40:26)

Storytelling is critical.

I go back to thinking about how we speak to little kids. You need to speak their language. They are not going to speak your language. If you spoke in Shakespearean language to a kid, they’re not going to understand you and they don’t care. You’re going to lose them.

Listen to your leaders.

Listen to the earning calls or whatever ways that they present to the organization. Pay attention to the words they use. Pay attention to how they describe things and the metrics they share.

Use the words they use.

Words are important. You can say the same thing with different words. We talk about data foundation, but if you say data integrity – you might say, well data integrity and data foundation are the same. If they use the word data foundation, use that. Use their words so they can understand you.

Keep it consistent.

Think about the old times – and the old fashioned newspaper. The New York Times always looks the same. They have the same structure, the same format. The articles and the layout are similar every day.

Imagine if they tweak things and move things around – you will spend a lot of energy and time trying to figure it out. It takes mental energy to figure out the format and the structure that you don’t care about. You want to read the news. All your energy is to understand the content of the news.

The same thing with storytelling and dashboards. Find a way to use the words, the structure, and the metrics that they use and are familiar with so that they don’t spend time and energy trying to understand your dashboard – your story.

For example: the metric that you’re tracking is going this way, we might need to take action on this.

Be very specific.

Don’t say a lot of things. Less is better. Be clear, concise, and very specific on the things that you really care about.

Repeat the things you care about.

Silence doesn’t mean they agree. Watch them, look at their expressions and repeat.

A mistake that we can make is that we don’t recap what we talked about last month. You can’t walk into a meeting thinking that they remember everything that happened last month. They don’t. They have done so many things since then. Don’t feel offended, it’s normal. Go back to that and say, last time we spoke we did this. Now we’re going to do this and let’s bring it to the present.

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