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Data Conversations Over Coffee with Michiel van Staden

Discover why Absa Group Data Analytics Lead Michiel van Staden is the DataCon Data Analytics Leader of the Year

Michiel van Staden, Data Analytics Lead at banking group Absa, was crowned Data Analytics Leader of the Year at last month's DataCon Africa Live virtual summit.

This episode of Data Conversations Over Coffee marks his achievement. In it, van Staden talks about effective data and analytics leadership and shares his advice for aspiring analytics leaders.

Technically minded data scientists or analysts often find it challenging to switch their focus towards people management as they climb the corporate ladder. So, van Staden shares his own experience of making this transition a success.

“Leadership is just such a practical thing that you need to figure out,” he says. “It’s very much something I have had to develop over time.”

“It’s not really about the data analyst,” he adds. “It’s almost not even about the data, as much. It’s really about your audience, to a large extent, and your stakeholders and your colleagues that you’re working with.”

“It really started clicking that if I was going to be successful and make an impact, I was going to have to start taking more note of the people around me,” he concludes. “You really need to work with your colleagues and the other stakeholders around you.”

Key Takeaways

  • Listen to the business – choose projects that address pressing business needs and spend time in dialogue with key stakeholders to hear what they think the solutions should be
  • Domain expertise is a vital ingredient – technical solutions work best when developed in close collaboration with the business units that will use ultimately them
  • Communication is the key – build time into meetings for staff to raise questions, discuss the challenges they’re facing and bring fresh ideas or perspectives to the table