Data is a Catalyst for Change

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A spark. One tiny fiery particle that can ignite change. Catalysts speed up reactions by lowering the amount of energy you need to get one going. From industrial processes and chemical reactions to the human body, they are a fundamental part of life. And, all you need is a tiny amount to make a difference.


Small spark, big outcomes

In biology and chemistry, even a small-molecule catalyst can change the outcome of a reaction. Similarly, data — in small and large formats — has the power to change processes and procedures in minor and major ways. Consider end of year reports on marketing ROI, employee retention, organizational spending and revenue comparisons, etc. This information isn’t just “nice to have.” It informs how we plan changes in the coming year, launch new initiatives, and set new goals. Data has the ability to shift an entire organizational strategy.

People data is no different. Armed with behavioral, cognitive, and engagement data (to name a few), managers can hire smarter, communicate more effectively and develop high-performing teams that reach or exceed business goals.


save Energy + Boost Confidence

At its heart, a catalyst is a way to save energy. And, saving our energy is critical in today’s remote world. Consider how much more time many of us are working now our office is down the hall from the bedroom. Or, perhaps we are working longer hours because we can’t be as productive throughout the day due to distance learning needs for children or other responsibilities we’ve never experienced before COVID.

Not long ago, Leadership Consultant Mandy Haskett shared an interesting thought,

We shouldn’t be managing our time, as much as we should be managing our energy.


The reason? Energy is a renewable resource and, no matter what, we will always only have 24 hours in a day.

Time is the great equalizer: We are all given a finite amount of it. But energy is infinite when you can tap into its source. At work, this manifests in the difference between feeling ‘energized’ or ‘busy.’


We feel energized and alive at work when we use our natural strengths and pursue our inherent curiosities. These things drive our confidence and productivity. And, managers can spark these feelings of confidence and satisfaction (as well as employee engagement and productivity) by using data to place the right person in the right role with the right team.


Speed to change

With data, leaders and organizations as a whole are better able to make big decisions. This speeds up the decision making process and sparks major changes faster than without data.

For example, thinking back to a chemical catalyst, consider how efficient lithium-ion batteries are today. These batteries have helped turn the clunky “Zack Morris” cellphone into the sleek, lightweight mobile devices we use today. More importantly, they last longer between charges. Scientists are already working on the next generation of batteries and one avenue currently being explored is the lithium-air battery. Data suggests lithium-air batteries, which utilize oxygen, would have a faster reaction and be even more efficient holding a longer charge than lithium-ion batteries. Thanks to the data, scientists have a direction to focus research and development efforts and may be able to bring a new, longer lasting mobile battery to market faster.

Ultimately, data is the catalyst of change, both for the individual and the organization. Without it, we’re guessing for solutions and, in many cases, not even attempting to make changes — accepting the status quo even if it’s indicating there’s a problem somewhere between the business strategy and our ability to achieve results.



Interested in learning more about how objective data improves decision-making and is a catalyst for change? Check out how ADVISA incorporates data into our client strategies.

For more on making change, read Leadership Consultant Mandy Haskett’s article: “Four resolutions to become better at change.”