So, how data literate is your team? What do I mean by that? Do they know how to interpret the data that flows throughout your company? Data has suggested that a lack of data literacy can cost companies several hundred million dollars in lost value, while highly data literacy is linked with better gross margin, return-on-assets, and return-on-equity.

Data has the ability to help your team members perform their jobs better. Your job as a leader is to ensure that the information you have is not siloed and that all members have access to this data so they can be more innovative, creative and involved in the company. Give them the freedom to love the data and to use it to their advantage.

The Gap Between Knowing and Doing

Despite so many executives seemingly valuing what data can do for their business, most are not going to the level that is necessary — which I understand, because we are in a new age where data has the ability to actually make a bigger difference. This is a considerable missed opportunity since a report by Qlik revealed that 82 percent of professionals in the United States want to invest in improving their data literacy.

Tips to Improve Data Literacy:

How Data Literate Are You? It’s Time to Find Out

First, you need to determine just how data literate you are. This is so you know where you are beginning on this journey to becoming highly data literate. The Data Literacy Index provides a tool to help companies assess their overall data literacy, with businesses having the ability to compare themselves against competitors in their industry. This is an important initial step to help you determine where you are so you can take remedial actions.

Communicate the Power of Data

Second, you need to communicate the power of data. If companies really believe that data can better their business, they need to communicate this to their team so that their professionals have zero doubts. As I always say, communication is everything — whether in person or via tech tools. This shouldn’t just be done through mission statements, but also with success stories of how data has transformed and improved the business.

Offer Customized Training

Third, training is a must. With everything changing (even the tech you’re training on) at the speed of light — constant and never-ending improvement (as Tony Robins always says) is how we have to live and work in this new era. Qlik suggests that even with low numbers of team members getting access to training, those that do go through the training often complain that it isn’t relevant. There is no one-size-fits-all approach and you should customize training whenever possible.

As your company’s needs evolve and change, this will result in a continual process of renewal. As the old saying goes — you don’t know ‘till you know. You will see an obvious and clear connection between financial performance and data literacy, which means this process of renewal is one that needs to start immediately. The bottom line is that the more data literate you and your team are, the more your company will improve because it will waste less time and enable more creativity, which equals more success.

The first step is to find out just how data literate you and your team are and to improve upon that with training and encouragement (and the data governance you instill). Data is a powerful tool that can transform your company – use it to your advantage!