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Lead Your Team Strategy

4 Business 'Intelligences' to Help You Make Tough Decisions

4 Business 'Intelligences' to Help You Make Tough Decisions
Credit: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

As a business leader, you likely make a lot of decisions every day. In most cases, it's expected that those choices will be informed and justified by hard facts and evidence, usually pulled from the ever-growing pool of "Big Data."

Valeh Nazemoff, senior vice president and co-owner of Acolyst, a business technology performance management consulting firm, said that many decision makers are overwhelmed by the amount of data they receive, and aren't even sure if the data is accurate or useful for their companies.

"Leaders [receive] mountains of reports, piles of paperwork and endless data every day," Nazemoff told Business News Daily. "They don't know what they need, when they need it, what questions to ask or where to go. Executives are pressured to get results, which [leads to] many projects being started without the proper planning and vetting. People tend to make decisions based on past experiences, without properly evaluating the facts of the here and now."

In her new book, "The Four Intelligences of the Business Mind: How to Rewire Your Brain and Your Business for Success" (Apress, 2014), Nazemoff offers a framework to help business leaders sort through the endless barrage of data and make decisions effectively. She outlines four separate but interrelated "business intelligences" — financial, customer, data and mastermind — that leaders can blend together to inform and execute a business strategy. [Decision-Making Techniques and Tools]

Financial Intelligence lets executives assess and reassess what decisions need to be made to positively impact financials. This type of intelligence helps decision makers reinvest in themselves and their businesses the right way.

Customer Intelligence answers key questions about finding, attracting and connecting with potential customers. This kind of intelligence helps leaders to truly understand their customers, emphasizing an organization-wide understanding of customers and what truly matters to them. This helps standardize and optimize brand messaging, support and product offerings. 

Data Intelligence synchronizes the processes, procedures and collaborative tools to communicate and interpret data across or between organizations. This means displaying data in a useful, visually pleasing format that allows for swift, strategic decisions. Ensuring that everyone is on the same page about the data being collected and what it means to the recipients makes business operations more streamlined and impactful.

Mastermind Intelligence empowers employees to be creative and innovative when engaging with customers and business partners. By taking the basic tenets of effective brainstorming and incorporating them into a company's culture, leaders can encourage a judgment-free, honest, respectful environment where employees feel comfortable voicing their opinions.

Nazemoff noted that these four intelligences connect to one another in a cycle, where the output from one type of intelligence becomes the input to another. For example, if you discover through Customer Intelligence that your ideal customer prefers to purchase your product online, you can then use that information as the starting point for Data Intelligence. As you gather data for internal collaboration, you engage Mastermind Intelligence to brainstorm about how to turn that information into an opportunity, Nazemoff said. This cycle ultimately helps your business transform and grow to where you want it to be. 

"The intelligence you gather feeds your overall strategy map of how to get from your current state to your desired future state," Nazemoff said. "Development of key strategic initiatives using the intelligence gathered from the areas above allows for the achievement of financial goals, satisfaction and loyalty of customers, data and visual insight into the organization, [and] empowerment and creativity of employees."

Thinking in terms of these four intelligences isn't always easy, especially if you're stuck in your old habits and thought patterns about decision making. Nazemoff advised approaching your potential business transformations with a good attitude, proactively monitoring progress on your goals and continually searching for ways to improve.

"To do and become, you must execute, so get out there and give it a try," she said. "You never know what might happen."

Nicole Fallon

Nicole Fallon received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.