I founded Uncommon Analytics in 2018 to address the most important need in modern business: Communication.
With over 30 years experience in business and government, I have learned that the key to success is clear and effective communication. More importantly, the root cause of organizational difficulties always includes communication failure.
We live in a technological world where business leaders are bombarded by analytical options from computer programmers and mathematicians. Those technological "experts" often don't understand the fundamentals of the businesses they seek to assist. In fact, these experts often argue that there is no need to understand the business of their customer.
Newspapers celebrate businesses that get their analysis right, but too many companies are left wondering why their technological solutions fail. The reason is often a failure in communication. At Uncommon Analytics, we know that there are many important interactions that have to be successful to make your business flourish. You count on our team to communicate clearly and effectively with your business so we can give you exactly what you need. You rely on our technological solutions to communicate well with your users so their experience is smooth and intuitive. In our socially connected world, you also rely on us to produce tools that facilitate the natural communication needs of your users as they work together.
My leadership philosophy is rooted in personal experiences developing, using, and maintaining technology. Here are a few personal stories that helped crystalize the value of communication for me.
As a young wife and mother, I joined the Army as a Biomedical Repair Technician. I spent almost a whole year learning how to perform maintenance on anesthesia and radiological medical equipment. The training was comprehensive and took us from soldering circuit boards to the human-machine interface.
Most people imagine that repairing medical equipment is simply tinkering away in a maintenance bay on equipment that needs a battery changed or an annual test performed. The reality is that the most critical medical maintenance has to be performed on equipment that is in use. During times like these, communication between the repair tech and the medical staff can be a matter of life and death.
On one memorable occasion, I was called into an operating room where a piece of medical equipment had stopped working mid-surgery. The patient's abdomen was open, but the tool to continue the surgery had failed. There was no replacement available. What is worse, the problem with the machine wasn't straight forward. There was no easy fix.
This is where communication with the client, in this case the surgeon, becomes so vital. I had to assess what could be done to make the machine work. I had to coach the surgeon to communicate what he needed to complete the operation. And I had to clearly communicate what safety risks existed with using the machine in a degraded state.
In the end, the patient recovered safely, but the importance of clear communication between professionals was cemented in my mind.
Years later, I was working at the Marine Corps University as an International Program Officer. Each year, dozens of officers come from allied nations to receive professional education with their American peers. These men and women represented the most capable and sophisticated of their respective nations. However, I learned valuable lessons about how technology can cause serious communication errors if it doesn't fully support users.
One of the simplest, but frustrating miscommunications came from date format standards. It is common for US information systems to represent June 1, 2020 as 6/1/20. However, in many countries, their standard notation for the same date would be 1/6/20. This caused serious problems for my officers particularly when it came to their children's education. The miscommunication of dates (and thus, ages) often had to be resolved face-to-face to ensure that children were placed in the correct classes. All of this work was simply the result of a website's user interface that wasn't clear about the data it was collecting.
A more humorous, but aggravating lesson came from voice recognition telephone systems. Officers from the United Kingdom and Australia often had so much difficulty navigating automated phone systems that they had to have an American officer "translate" their accent for the machines. What was remarkable was that Turkish, German, and even Pakistani officers had no trouble with the systems. Clearly, the system developers had considered how to handle the accents of people who spoke English as a second language, but had ignored the various accents of native English speakers.
The lesson from these experiences is clear. The audience of users is diverse and nuanced. When developing user interfaces, it is important to be as clear and specific as possible.
Most recently, I have worked as an executive assistant for an array of general officers and senior executives. This population of Department of Defense leaders has some of the most demanding schedules conceivable. Between responding to the demands of senior executives, guiding their own staff, and synchronizing with their peers, these leaders are always booked solid. What is more, a single short notice meeting can reshuffle the schedule of scores of executives.
This kind of complexity requires a vast team of aides and assistants to keep everything synchronized. You might expect that there would be a technological solution that made this easier. In fact, there is not. Of course, there are tools to schedule a single meeting. But the human communication to organize dozens of meetings still requires an impressive amount of one-on-one communication.
As Uncommon Analytics develops solutions, we are focused on the human communication that underpins the technology. We deliver the best results when we facilitate the communication that is at the root of the task.
You have many options for your technical and analytical solutions. We look forward to demonstrating how our unique commitment to effective communication can bring you to a whole new level.