We all know how and why we should use data to improve performance. But how do organizations make the leap from gathering data to developing a data-driven, measurable improvement in performance? One of the best examples of using data to improve performance is the turnaround by the Golden State Warriors.

When the franchise was in financial trouble in 2010, it was purchased by a group of investors. These investors weren’t basketball players, so their approach to “fixing” the team was unorthodox. As reported by The Wall Street Journal’s Ben Cohen, the Warriors went from not winning a championship since 1975 to breaking records, by shooting the most 3-pointers in NBA history. The significant point of the story, however, is that many NBA teams were using data analytics; many teams knew the significance of the 3-point shot.

[Tweet “It’s not enough to have the data – you have to act on it. #datadrivenstrategy”]

“The difference between the Warriors and everyone else was what the team decided to do with this information.”

In other words, it’s not enough to have the data – you have to act on it. The Warriors:

  • Created a comprehensive strategy that relied on the data they collected.
  • Took risks by trading their most popular player for one who was skilled at 3-point shots.
  • Withstood criticism as they methodically built the team around their strategy.
  • Cultivated talent who could deliver, and removed those who could not.
  • Refined the strategy (encouraging players to take 3-point shots from further away and stretch the defense) to further improve their results.

Bottom line: They took action using the data they had uncovered, and the result was a measurable, remarkable increase in performance that resulted in NBA championships.

[Tweet “When data informs strategy, the result is measurable improvements in performance.”]

The Warriors took data that many other NBA teams were aware of and built a strategy that leveraged the data in the most effective way possible. It was strategic, smart, and innovative.

Imagine what you can do with your business with the right data informing your strategy.


As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.

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