What trait unites all great leaders? Not simply powerful leaders, but great ones. Lords, Generals, Heads of State, all of them may be differentiated by their focus, their character, and their drive; but their is one subtle link that rests at the core of all noteworthy figures: their council. Presidents have cabinets, Kings have courts, and Generals have brass; they're all creative names for trusted partners in a grand endeavor. It takes this kind of integrated, advisory relationship to get anywhere worth going. The combined efforts of many have always paved the world for great and lasting change, and as the old saying goes, two heads are better than one. No one is an island, it takes a village, I could spend a day transcribing all the ways we've come up with to communicate this lesson throughout history, but what matters is the heart of it: we can't hope to succeed if we go it alone. This is where data comes in. Sorry dogs, but data may be our new best friend. Because data is this council, this trusted company that our best and brightest have long held in high esteem. With the aid of empirical data, you never have to act alone again; you can query a system of aggregated, anonymized, empirical data to show you the lay of the land from any angle. It's like having the best terrain maps around - no scouting parties required. You'll know what comparable players are doing without having to painstakingly extract those details verbally, so you'll always have the information you need to make tactical decisions. So, that's all well and good, but like any strategy, it's only as good as it's first contact with the real world. So let's put this idea through the paces. You're a Sales manager, and it's time for you to start putting together a few sales plan ideas. That's a pretty standard operating procedure, shouldn't be too hard, right? But we're not operating in a vacuum - this isn't company quarter number one, is quarter 27, and you're looking to reinvigorate your sales force after months of personnel churn. You've got a diverse workforce on your hands, and you want to make sure you're supporting your whole team, while keeping top performers happy and ensuring quota and territories are fair and balanced. You need something ironclad but flexible, structurally sound, naturally scaled, and fluid enough not to impede growth. Your plan can't be a free-for-all, but if it gets in it's own way you're leaving growth and revenue on the table. This is about as simplified an example as I can provide - if you're in the weeds with this stuff you know how many mitigating factors go into designing these things. How are you supposed to make any changes; unless you founded the company, its likely that you inherited these systems, so you're working with an ecosystem that needs to be nurtured and mustn't be unbalanced. So how do you make changes to better the organization, while protecting against the risk of destabilizing it? If you have a system that can give you insights data, you can check your ideas against the benchmarks of companies in your vertical and industry. You can see what missteps the bottom rung has made, and you can aspire to the progress of the thought leaders. You can leverage predictive modeling to peer past the initial decision into the possible ramifications, and you can do so without going live with anything. With this kind of data at your fingertips, you can plot a course for the most effective incentives, the most engaging pay mixes, and the most inspiring incentive compensation plan designs. You've got empirical insights to back up your decisions, and predictive modeling to light the way. Each benchmark is a stepping stone, and together you can set an example for the next organization to marvel at. If you want to know more about how to make sure you've got the right stuff, check out our insights data.