Staying on the data tip today (and why not), we were lucky enough to see Coca-Cola’s VP of People Insights, Strategy and Culture, Sue Lam, share her tips for using data in making better decisions around people.
Even her job title itself goes a distance in understanding the value that the Coca-Cola Company puts on linking its insights with the strategy and culture of the business.
As the old adage goes, culture may eat strategy for breakfast (presumably with a Coke on the side), but the two are inextricably linked.
According to Lam, the future of HR requires data and analytics for three reasons: Behavior change, employee listening, and organizational network analysis.
In how this applies to leadership values at the company, the official mission statement is satisfyingly pun-heavy: Leaders commit to creating a thirst for growth, as they seek to refresh the world. But what does that mean in practice?
It means being a role model and acting with a growth mindset, it means dreaming big and not being afraid to borrow good ideas from elsewhere, and it also puts a premium on creative disagreement. Other elements of leadership the company looks to embody in its strategy are coaching and mentoring and last but not least, talent development.
It feels like there will always be some element of cognitive dissonance when it comes to the idea that culture can be measured and quantified. But it’s the behaviors that make the culture, and performance – something that can undoubtedly be tracked – is bound up in that.
Lam rounds off with a few quick points about how it all works at Coca-Cola:
- Effective prioritization
- Supporting work-life balance and wellbeing
- Creating effective decision making processes
- Maximizing the effectiveness of 1:1s
- Role-modeling effective meeting behaviors
Those last two definitely caught the attention of this writer and a few other people in the room and notably, formed a significant part of closing keynote Celeste Headlee’s talk as well. Are the days of endless meetings over? We can only hope.
All in all, sound advice from one of the world’s longest and most established drinks brands. You don’t thrive after nearly 150 years without getting your people strategy spot on, do you?