Friday, February 8, 2008


In business, most of the time, it doesn’t happen. People tend to work on their own area and own sides leaving two or more extremely strong wheels to spin on their own.

As an analyst who was initially trained in a “conservative” setting, I find that it is sometimes hard to create synergy with those who do not think in tight theoretical ways. When I first started my career, I was pretty idealistic and very conservative with data. All things had to be “balanced.” This made it extremely difficult to create synergy with those who do not have to have things balanced. As I moved on with my career, I quickly realized that more flexibility was needed on my side. This was accelerated when I began working for a photomask company as the corporate statistician. You see, photomask manufacturing is pretty much N-of-1 manufacturing, and as you know statistics in manufacturing is all about replication. So, I quickly found out the key was not to focus on what was different and how to “fit” a statistical model to non-replicates, but to find out really what was the same, what WAS replicated, and control the heck out of that. It worked well, and led to my first two publications. However, I never really was part of a synergy, since my main focus was to pound out reports and focus on how to analyze the same data differently.

I then moved to my current position, and marketing was a new area of focus for me. It was much more fluid than the “lab” of a research facility. What I did realize, however, is that there was some synergy happening within the company. People were working together, not in silos. Lately, we are really starting to pick-up momentum, and it is very exciting. Things are “coming together” in a way few analysts actually get to see. Most of us typically sit back and pound reports and think of new ways to get and analyze data. What is really exciting though is when the metrics begin to line up with the corporate identity. That is a great feeling for an analyst.

So, what’s my point? To create synergy, everyone needs to change and it takes time. It took me years and different situations, to change from a “theoretical” statistician and come closer to the middle. Yet, it can’t just be one person. It will not work if one person moves all the way to the other person. Others also have to come towards the middle. When it does happen though, it can be a very exciting time for everyone.

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