Equipping and Inspiring Your Staff to Leave—Nelson Davis, Founder & Partner, Analytic Vizion

Have you ever thought about creating an exit plan for your employees? Essentially, setting them up to leave before they even start at your company? If you have, do you have a clear plan?

Our guest, Nelson Davis, is equipping and inspiring his team of professionals to make an exit from his company. Despite the challenging world we live in of recruiting and retaining employees, Nelson takes the approach of being proactive on having a plan for his team to have a growth, development, and exit plan. 

Nelson is the Founder and Leading Partner of Analytic Vizion, a data and analytics consulting firm designed to equip and inspire the next generation of data and technology leaders. Believer in selfless people, servant leadership, and high trust culture.

ABOUT OUR GUEST:

Nelson Davis is the founder and Leading Partner of Analytic Vizion, a data and analytics consulting firm designed to equip and inspire the next generation of data and technology leaders. Believer in selfless people, servant leadership, and high trust culture. Believer, Husband to Alyson, Father of four incredible (and crazy) boys, lover of people, hoping to impact the next generation of marketplace leaders for the better.

ABOUT BIG SKY FRANCHISE TEAM:

This episode is powered by Big Sky Franchise Team. If you are ready to talk about franchising your business you can schedule your free, no-obligation, franchise consultation online at: https://bigskyfranchiseteam.com/ or by calling Big Sky Franchise Team at: 855-824-4759.

If you are interested in being a guest on our podcast, please complete this request form or email podcast@bigskyfranchise.com and a team member will be in touch.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:00):

Welcome to the Multiply Your Success podcast, where each week, we help growth minded entrepreneurs and franchise leaders take the next step in their expansion journey. I’m your host, Tom Du four CEO of Big Sky Franchise Team.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:13):

And as we open today, I’m wondering if you have ever thought about creating an exit plan for your employees, essentially setting them up to leave before they even start working at your company. And if you have thought about that, do you have a plan or a clear plan in place?

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:33):

Well, our guest today is Nelson Davis and he is equipping and inspiring his team of professionals to make an exit from his company before they even step foot in the door. And despite the challenging world that we live in of recruiting and retaining employees today, Nelson takes the approach of being proactive on having a plan for his team to have a clear growth, development, and exit plan from his organization.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:59):

Nelson is the founder and leading partner of Analytic Vizion, which is a data and analytics consulting firm designed to equip and inspire the next generation of data and technology leaders. He’s a believer in selfless people, servant leadership, and high trust culture. You’re going to love this interview with Nelson, so let’s go ahead and jump right into it.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (01:20):

Hey, Tom. Great to see you this afternoon. My name is Nelson Davis. I am the founder of an organization called Analytic Vizion. This organization exists to equip and inspire the next generation of data and technology leaders.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (01:34):

We are very much a data and analytic consulting firm, but we are also very much a leadership academy. We have a huge vision around bringing great technologists and helping them to grow not only in their skillset, but also grow as human beings through things like leadership and business education.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (01:50):

And then ultimately, we actually had the vision of launching our people back out into the marketplace to be the leaders for the next generation. My kids need great leaders and that’s a huge motivation. So we’re big on this idea of legacy. We’re big on this idea of next generation. We want to create a very sustainable marketplace in the long term. And so we didn’t see enough people trying to do that and so we wanted to make that a core focus of what we do as an organization.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (02:17):

So great. Well I’d love to unpack two big topics you talked about here. The first is the idea of data analytics. And this is becoming increasingly just a buzzword in just most business circles, communities, any kind of event you’re going to. They’re talking about data analytics or something in that regard. So I’d just love for you to start by talking about what data analytics is and how businesses are using it.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (02:44):

Absolutely. Yeah. So data analytics is not necessarily a new concept. There’s tons around the idea of statistics and data being present in business for many, many years. We’ve had databases for a long time. You began to see some of this kind of analytical pieces get unlocked when visualization really came about. Once you have about 100 rows worth of data, you really need to begin to visualize them in order to be able to make much sense of what’s going on here.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (03:11):

And then you get into these ideas around the analytic maturity. And the baseline that I think most organizations want to be able to say, “At minimum we can do this,” is we can go in and kind of look descriptively and read the newspaper, see what happened yesterday, see what happened a week ago, see what happened last year. And then these things should then inform us on hey, what should we expect? Where might we have an opportunity to improve and so forth?

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (03:36):

And then as you think about growing in analytic maturity, you then start to think about getting into things like predictive and prescriptive. Hey, if I know what happened previously, I might be able to predict the future because I’ve seen these variables in the past. And if I’ve seen these variables in the past, I can be to predict what happened. I might be able to prescribe. Hey, when we see these things, these are the actions that we should take in order to create better outcomes.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (04:00):

And then the Shangri-La of analytic maturity, as you get to this almost cognitive or autonomous way of looking at data. The best example that I can give you is if you’re an airline company and you fly all sorts of different combinations of routes throughout your network, you’ll have pricing analysts who will do the top 20% of the routes that create 80% of your revenue. But for the other 80% of your routes that create 20% of your revenue, that’s all going to be some algorithm, some computer kind of deciding those prices and so forth because you don’t have the time to do those things. That’s really kind of one of the best opportunities for that kind of highest level of analytics.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (04:39):

But the other thing I would say too is for a long time we’ve been in this space talking about data driven insights and data driven decision making. And the language has changed a little bit even in the last probably 12 to 18 to 24 months around that becoming more of data informed decision making. And so it’s a nod to the fact that, data for the sake of data, if it’s not intersected with a strategy or analysis or whatever, is really kind of out of context.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (05:07):

And so ultimately the goal should be, when it comes to data and analysis, we need to be thinking about what is the data saying and then intersecting that with? Okay, and what is our strategy? Where are we going? Why are we going there? Who’s driving that? Who’s making those decisions? And letting the data inform but not necessarily dictate those decisions. Us humans still have a very large role to play in all of this.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (05:32):

It’s an exciting time to be in this space. I think it was five, six years ago, being a data scientist was the sexiest job in the world or something like that. And so we do a lot of that type of stuff. But at the end of the day, we’re trying to help make better decisions through the tools that they have and the data that they’re already recording and so want learn and make things better if we possibly can.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (05:55):

Got it. Well that’s a great explanation and as I’m hearing you talk about it, just maybe it’s top of mind with fantasy football coming around, but I think of maybe a data driven is the guy or gal in your fantasy league that just sets it to autodraft and it just picks the top player in that position based on some data ranking that’s just kind of plugged in there versus you showing up for your draft and looking at that and saying, “Yes, but I also know these other variables that are going to be important to my team,” just for a very micro example there.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (06:32):

100%. Yeah. And data without context can be really, really misused. One of the things that makes me cringe is when I see a statistic that is one single number and it’s like you have no idea whether … what did that number look like last year? What is the prediction we’re going it going forward? What’s the trend here? You really need at minimum three data points in order to make a trend.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (06:55):

And so any one single number can be absolutely misused in line with data. And so yeah, a lot of people come to things like visualization analysis during fantasy of football. What is this player predicted to do this year? When is their buy week? How do I make sure that I can not have too many people on this buy week and so forth and that I have my own strategy. I want to go quarterbacks early, or I want to go tight ends early, or something like that. Right? And we actually just did our first ever Analytic Vizion fantasy football draft last week. So your timing is well taken.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (07:35):

That’s so great. Well I would love to been a fly on the wall with your company and all of your data analysts and your team and everybody going through it. That would’ve been a hoot. Well Nelson, the other big topic you talked about, and it’s one of the things I’ve always been so impressed with you and your organization, is when it comes to recruiting and bringing new people into your company.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (08:01):

And you have always, from the moment we first met, made it very clear that every person who comes to into your organization has generally come in with the idea that they’re supposed to leave, intentionally leave. And it seems atypical and unusual given the climate that we’re all living in. And most business owners I talk to and business leaders today, their number one pain point is recruiting and retaining top talent. And here you are taking top talent and saying, “Okay, here’s your pathway to exit out of here.” So I’d love for you to talk through your philosophy and some of the things that you’re doing that are unique and different that I see the fruit that’s being beared or that’s happening from what you’re doing here.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (08:47):

Yeah. And if you’re listening to this and you’re thinking to yourself, that’s a terrible idea, in some ways I have to agree with you. There’s a reality. And we won’t go into the whole long story of this, but there was a very distinct moment where I was leaving the organization that I previously was working for as a consultant, as a leader. And I knew I was going to go start this organization in about two days before I left for the final time.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (09:11):

I was standing in downtown Atlanta. I was kind of looking out over the skyline and I just got this vision. [inaudible 00:09:18] said, “Hey, I love what you’re doing. You’re going to go start this data now consulting firm and you have this heart for servant leadership.” But the thing couldn’t square was I couldn’t bring those two things together and it really bothered me. It bothered me for months.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (09:31):

And it’s like, are we just great servant leaders? And people love it here, but we never give people a chance to lead? Because there’s just not enough seats at the leadership table in a consulting firm. And I just didn’t know what to do with this because I had passion for both. And in this moment, this vision kind of came to me that said, “Look, love the consulting firm, love the servant leadership. But what if the goal is not to bring people in and to hold onto them forever? One of the goal instead was to bring people in for a time, equip and inspire them to be the next generation of data and technology leaders, and then ultimately launch them back out to the marketplace so that your kids would have leaders were following?”

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (10:09):

And my immediate kind of visual reaction to that kind of vision and idea, and I know the reason why I call it a vision, was it’s not mine. Because I immediately said, “That’s a terrible idea.” I’ve never seen any business that intentionally brings people in only to send them back out. And then, I thought about it for about 30 seconds and it hit me. I said, “If our goal is to make an impact more than it is to make a profit,” and trust me, we’re a very much a for profit organization, but we just always, always felt like if we can make an impact, the profit will just show itself up. Until this point, it always has. And so if the goal was impact more than it was profit, then there is actually no better business model than to bring people in, equip and inspire them, and then launch them back out.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (10:56):

One of the amazing things is if you’re playing a super long game, and what I mean by that is playing a game in the term of seven years and 10 years and beyond that, if you bring those people in, equip and inspire them, and give them a vision of what great leadership looks like, and then they become the leaders in organizations in the marketplace and start their own company and so forth, when they need a consultant to come in and help and to help solve problems or to add extra horsepower, who do you think they’re going to call? Ultimately they’re going to call the people that they trust. They’re going to call the organizations that have invested in them. They’re not going to call the big name consulting firms that you know. They’re going to call us.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (11:38):

And so ultimately, if we can pull this off, this ultimately becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It becomes one of the most sustainable business models in existence. And yet, organizations don’t think like this. The other reality is, if we’re being honest, most people are going to leave. They’re going to leave anyway. And so why not go ahead and cast a vision for them and invite them into a story where they’re the main character and they’re on a journey and we’re coming alongside them and say, We want to be a great chapter in your story, we want to be a part of equipping and inspiring you because the marketplace needs great leaders, because business needs the next generation of leaders”?

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (12:26):

The other part of this too for me is I’m a big fan of Andy Stanley. Andy talks about you should do whatever it is that breaks your heart. And the thing that breaks my heart at the end of the day is bad leadership. We spend 8, 10, 12 hours in our organizations. And if we have micromanagers and people who don’t know how to connect with us and lead empathetically, then we come home and we kick the dog and we raise kids that are bullies. And we have this kind of vicious cycle.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (12:53):

And the opposite is true. Right? If we go to work and we find opportunity to use our gifts and talents and we’re lit up by the purpose and we’re doing something that’s part of a bigger story, then all of a sudden, we’re living on purpose and we’re engaged and we’re excited about what we’re doing. And then we have this virtuous cycle where we’re raising kids who believe these same things. We’re part of families that are engaged in the community, that we raise people who see themselves as investors in the next generation.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (13:25):

And so again, these are the opportunities that we have, and part of it is framing. At the end of the day what we do, we do data analytic consulting, we build databases, we build dashboards, so forth. That’s not particularly different. How we do it, we think we have some really interesting ways doing discovery and we think we have some great ways of working with clients and sitting with them and delivering with excellence and being on time, on budget, and over-delivering with expectations.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (13:55):

But why we do what we do we think is uniquely different in the marketplace. That’s our biggest differentiator. And so we lead with that why, because at the end of the day, there’s plenty of consulting firms out there. And many of them can do some of what we do, but we live at that intersection of organizational strategy and analytic insight and that makes such a huge difference for our clients and for our people.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (14:20):

Yeah. The great overview with that. And I’m wondering as you shared this just brilliant vision, and I think it’s bold and certainly I can only imagine when you decided you the idea hits, you said, “That sounds crazy.” And then you said, “Wait a minute,” and then you actually start implementing and said, “What did we get ourselves into?” But now it’s working. Right? Everything’s working. It’s going.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (14:46):

And so I’d love for you to just share maybe a few of the things that you do, a little bit of the what or how you’ve implemented some of this, just for someone who listens into this, say, well how might I be able to do something like this at my company?

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (14:58):

Yeah, that’s a great question because it’s one thing to say, “This organization exists to equip and inspire,” and then okay, but how does that actually come off the wall? And how do these values show up? So one of the biggest pieces, we put our money where our mouth is right off the bat. In consulting, time is money. And so our consultants have the expectation of billing 36 hours each week to our clients when they’re full time.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (15:21):

In many consulting firms, you’re talking well over 40, 44, 48, even 50 hours a week of billable time. It’s what they want their people doing. The reality is that they’re really grinding up those people and getting everything out of them that they can. And they know they’re going to be gone in two years. And it’ll be unhealthy and they’re not going to take care. All these different things. And so we want to create something that’s sustainable. You know? Even though we are planning to launch our people back out into the marketplace, that’s a journey of we think about six to eight years.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (15:53):

We are just over three years old and we’ve got just a handful of folks. We have a six step process and we have a lot of folks that are in step two of that journey. And so we’re still, as we love to say around here, building the airplane and flying it at the same time. And yet, so the 36 hours is a big piece of it. The other four hours, we take that and we invest that back into our people. We believe that we pour into our people and our people will pour into our clients. And so that’s where we do things like our leadership education. We love reading books. Tom, you mentioned Seven Habits Begin with the End in Mind. So that’s book number one that everybody reads when they walk in the door. We have three other books. The Servant by James Hunter, Everybody Matters by Bob Chapman and then the Infinite Game by Simon Sinek. Those make up what we call our core leadership experience.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (16:48):

And then at the end of that, we actually have all of our people write their personal mission statement, which is a big part of Seven Habits. And so you know kind of come through that in about six to eight months into your journey. You kind of have a sense of, okay, here’s what leadership means here. Maybe a lot of times these ideas resonate with people, but they never thought about them in these terms or in these words and so forth. And now it’s like we’ve given language. And also doing these same four books creates common language for all of our people and we kind of pull out, hey, you read this in this book. Here’s the value of our organization. Here’s how that comes to life.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (17:25):

And so that’s a big piece of what we do. Just to again, bring that off the wall and make it tangible, is we take those four hours and we’ve invested back. The rest of the time we’re doing things like technology education, business education, so think almost kind of MBA type of stuff, thinking strategically, empathetic listening. We also do things like consulting toolkit. So hey, if you’ve not been a consultant or if you’re trying to do the 201 or 301 of being a consultant, here’s some of the learnings of being a trusted advisor over the course of time.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (17:56):

We also do, every month we do something called the State of the Vision. And so it’s kind of a monthly rally and we talk about some cool things that are happening and then you remind people and share some cool stories of how this vision is being captured in our people and people even beyond our organization.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (18:14):

And so sometimes we hear some cool stories about stuff like that. And so that investment is a huge piece. And the one thing I would say, I think, there’s many business owners out there who struggle with my generation. For those who can’t see me, I’m right there on the cusp of being a millennial. So I can talk about millennials because I am one. And those millennials are seen as such a problem and they want all this purpose and they want all this bean bags and ping pong tables and free snacks. Right? What we really want is we want something that we can believe in. We want something that we feel is genuine and authentic. And so a big part of creating this organization is that this is what I’m passionate about and I love to bring that passion, bring that vision, because this is in my mind what God’s gifted me to is the way he’s wired me.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (19:07):

I’m not good at details. I’ve got a whole team that could tell you that. But what I am gifted at is I love to cast vision and bring a little bit of inspiration and get people excited about what could be, take on challenges, take on things that are hard, remind people you don’t grow from doing things that are comfortable. You tend to grow from doing things that are hard.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (19:30):

And so that’s certainly been true of my life. This organization continues to prove that time and time again. But it’s been such an honor and a privilege to do this and to be a part of this and I’m so grateful. We’ve built an amazing team. That’s the other piece of this is we’re sneaking up on 30 folks and it’s kind of interesting when you have an idea and you’re like, I wonder if this could work. And then all of a sudden you wake up and you’re nearly 30 people. But a big part of that is just finding great folks who are not only great technologists, but also have amazing character, also are going to add to the culture that we have here, and bring their gifts and talent. So it’s been awesome.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (20:18):

Oh yeah, thank you for sharing some of that detail with us, Nelson. And now’s a great time for us to make a transition in the show where we ask every guest before they go the same four questions. And the first one we ask is, have you had a miss or two along the way, along your journey? And some can learn from it.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (20:41):

Any entrepreneur really gets on here and says they have no misses is just bold face lying. Two that I would share. One is a huge one in my life. If I look back in my very early 30s, I had a young family. My wife was still working at the time and I was very much wrapped up in my own success and I wrongly believed that I was what I did, that if I got the award or if I got the achievement or if I proved that I was better than everybody else, then somehow that was going to be the thing that finally fulfilled me. The reality is I climbed up pretty high on that ladder early on in my career. I actually received an award at one point that in my very small circle of people that care about this award was a big deal and it had me being one of the top 20 people at what I did in the world.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (21:35):

I got there and as many people would tell you who kind of get to the top of that ladder, I felt empty inside and I felt very broken. And I just to realize this is not what I thought it was going to be. And I had a great friend come alongside me at the exact same time and he would sit with me and ask me this question that bothered the absolute stuff out of me. He just kind of said, “Who are you?” And I would be like, I’m a consultant, I’m a father, I’m a husband. And all this type of stuff. He’s like, no, that’s what you do. That’s not who you are. And I was like, what do you want me to say? Give me the answer. I don’t know what you want me to say. He was like, I can’t answer this question for you.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (22:16):

And I think we did it three times. And finally, sitting on his back porch, just in tears one night, I finally realized. I think he asked me, he said, “When you were born and you had done nothing in this world,” I think out of frustration. He was like, “Who are you?”

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (22:32):

And I realized that when I was born, I was a gift to my parents. They had struggled with infertility for a long time and I was they’re one and only child. And I just kind of realized, I recognized, when I was born, I was a gift. And he kind of said, “Live every day for the rest of your life knowing that that’s true.” Because the point being, you are who you are from the moments you existed. You know are wired and fearfully and wonderfully made. And this idea that you have to prove something to someone in order to be enough was just this lie that I was living for so long.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (23:10):

I had a lot of PTSD to kind of come out under the layers of that. And ultimately, I kind of realized, well, I’ve lived my first 30 plus years believing this, so now what? And after about six, 12 months, or something like that, I kind of got to this place of realizing if it’s not about me, it must be about other people. And if it’s not about my success, it must be about theirs.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (23:34):

I began to try to figure out how I could invest in other people and watch them get lit up and watch their passion come alive and use the gifts and talents that I had been given to bring their gifts and talents to light and to light them up. And that has absolutely been the game changer for me and it’s really how I’ve lived the rest of my life since that season. It was a dark, very, very, very challenging season. And while I never want to go through it again, I wouldn’t give it up for anything. So definitely a huge miss, but also a lot of redemption in that as well.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (24:13):

And then one quick one from just recently. We did our most recent quarterly planning. We announced kind of our profit share 2.0 because when we as an organization succeed, we want our people to succeed. And so we try to create win-win outcomes around sharing quarterly profit. And so we had come up with this idea where, hey, as you get promoted and as you go on this journey, we want to create some reward for you. And I had this idea of, hey, we’re going to take two thirds of the profit or two thirds of the bonus that you earn in a quarter. We’ll give that to you and then we’re going to hold one third back. And then when you make it to the next stage of the journey, then we’ll give you that, well intentioned of, hey, I want to create some incentive for you to get to the next level and want to create some congratulations for you.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (25:01):

But even as the words were coming out of my mouth to explain it to the team, I was like, this doesn’t feel very generous. It’s like, you’ve earned this. You earned it in this quarter and yet we’re going to hold onto it. And it was like, I don’t like this. And so what I should have done was pretty rapidly tell everybody, “Hey, I said this yesterday, but I don’t like it. I’m going to change it.”

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (25:24):

I waited weeks and began to get some feedback from folks who were like, hey, we really don’t like this. And I’m sitting there. I’m like, I don’t like it. Right? It was bad. And so ultimately it was a huge lesson for me. We ended up changing it and making it so that when you get promoted in the quarter, you get promoted. You get the kind of next level up from the profit share perspective, but whatever you earn in a quarter, going to get that.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (25:55):

And so it’s just one of those moments of I felt tension and if I feel tension, I should just assume that everybody else feels tension. And then I was too slow to communicate. And so, I went back and I said, “Guys, I apologize. I feel like we were trying to do the right thing. It didn’t show up the way we wanted to show up. It didn’t feel as generous as we wanted it to feel. And so we’ve changed it, we’ve done these things.” And it was like, oh, this is great. So yeah, those are two that are kind of top of mind for sure.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (26:32):

Just by way of moving to the opposite, you shared some successes with us. Is there a make or two that stands out that you can share as well?

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (26:45):

Yeah, I mean when I think about this organization, there’s very little of this that I can really claim. I’m big, as I mentioned earlier, that this wasn’t really my idea. And this may surprise a lot of people, but I was never that person with the lemonade stand. I was never the person who just wanted to be an entrepreneur. This was not something that I ever pursued, really felt called into this.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (27:11):

And so if I was going to claim any big ownership or anything that I’ve done that has created success here, it [inaudible 00:27:23] be that I feel like I’ve done my best to follow and obey this idea, this call, to go start this organization. And then on a daily basis, I feel like we create momentum as more and more people join, as more and more people catch the vision that we have of equipping and inspiring and just there’s a lot of momentum that’s happening.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (27:49):

And then, one of the coolest things that’s happened recently is I’ve really kind of said, “This thing is bigger than my ability to solve all the problems and do all the things and so forth.” I really need help. And I’ve invited a lot of our consultants into. Hey, this is your organization too. Help us make it better. And it’s been amazing to watch them take their extra time and invest it and give us great feedback. And then we’re trying to take that and to learn from it and to build something that’s better. At the end of the day, we want to be better today than we were yesterday in everything that we do. And so we want to scale. We want to make it sustainable. We want to make it a place that people love coming to, to be a part of.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (28:40):

The other thing I guess I would encourage folks with is invite your people into the challenges, invite their innovation, invite their problem solving. And when you do that, you have to honor their input. And you don’t necessarily have to do everything they say, but you have to engage them and kind of be like, hey, this was really helpful. We’re not necessarily going to do that thing that you had the idea on, but that’s prompted this other thing. Or here’s how that’s going to come to life. Maybe it’s just we might be able to do it, but it’s not going to be in this season. But to give them that sense of ownership and so forth.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (29:20):

How about this idea of a multiplier? We had talked before the show started about this idea of using a multiplier and to help you grow your business or yourself. Would you mind sharing that with us?

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (29:32):

Yeah, I mean, one of the things, again, any business owner will tell you ,is that an organization is nothing more than a group of people. And so having amazing people who understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it is key to success in so many different ways.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (29:52):

Our recruiting process is fairly long. It’s a 10 step recruiting process for most of the roles we have in the organization. And the first three or four steps are really focused on your kind of competency and your capability and the technical skills that we’re asking you to engage in. And then the next two or three are really focused on your character. Who are you, what level of self-awareness do you have? And then the last two pieces are all about cultural addition. Are you going to be someone who adds to our culture?

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (30:29):

We, I’ve been challenged on this idea of cultural fits. If we just keep hiring cultural fits and cultural fits, cultural fits, we’re looking for somebody that looks like this and so forth. And it’s like, no, we want people who are going to add to our culture, who make us better, who this is the best way to add and bring people who have different perspectives as well. And so you may not look like or sound like or talk other people that are already here, but we think you’re going to add to what we’re doing here. So I think people are huge.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (31:04):

And then the last one of course is like we have vision in our name. So I’m a huge proponent of you got to pound the vision. You think we had that great talk on Monday and everybody gets the vision and they’re good for the next three months. They’re good until Wednesday. You’ve got to pound it every day. You got to remind people, hey, see that thing over there? Or you see that example or you see that conversation? Look, this is why we do what we do. This is how the vision comes to life. This is how the values come off the wall. We made this decision because we value this thing. Right?

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (31:40):

And so I’m constantly thinking about how do we get our values to show up more? How do we constantly get our vision to show up more? How do we tie what we see in real life to that kind of ethereal vision that we kind of proclaimed? And I think that’s one of the biggest things, again, for leaders and entrepreneurs and business owners to do is if you’re not pounding the vision, nobody else is, right? Yes, I’m kind of the CEO of this organization, but also kind of thinking myself as the chief vision steward, if you will.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (32:15):

We’re here to steward and to care for this vision. If we’re successful, we won’t be the last ones who are responsible for this vision. Right? If we’re ultimately successful, the organization’s here in 20, 30, 40, 50, 100 years, because there’s probably not a season in the future when technology leaders won’t need to be equipped and inspired. The marketplace is going to need these types of folks.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (32:45):

Well, and the final question we ask every guest, Nelson, is what does success mean to you?

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (32:53):

Yeah. As I’ve really thought about who am I, and somebody actually asked me the other day, “What are a few words that you live by?” And if I’m being honest, and again, I am the founder of the organization, I think the words that I have ultimately come to live by as a human being are just equip and inspire.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (33:19):

I do this as my day job, but nights and weekends, I am a pretty serious head baseball coach. I have four boys. And so I’ve coached each one of my oldest two, and now I’ve dropped down to my youngest two. And over the summer with my second one, we went up to Mississippi and won the Dizzy Dean World Series and beat teams from four different states. And I had this gritty group of eight year olds. And you kind of laugh. Eight year old baseball. Really? And you would be absolutely shocked at how amazing these kids are.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (33:54):

As they went to the championship and won it, they held the other team scoreless for the last 18 out of the last 19 innings, and just gritty defense, all the work that we put in over about a two year period just came to fruition. It was amazing to watch. And I start every game and finish every game with that team where I just ask them, “Hey, what do champions do?” And they yell, “Finish.”

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (34:18):

And for me, I’m teaching them and hard wiring this kind of idea into the brain of an eight year old that, hey, when things get hard, I’m a champion. I finish. And I’ve seen my own kids do this on their own and they’re like, hey, we got to clean up this room. And my oldest one will get the younger three together. And he is like, all right, what do champions to do? Finish. Right?

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (34:38):

And it’s this idea of I know so many people when things get hard, they quit. And I want my kids, and I want my team, I want my organization, to be people who, when things get hard, they finish what they started because that’s what they committed to do. And so that’s a part of that. In order to do that, you must be equipped, because if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can’t do it in the first place.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (35:06):

But there’s also a component here of you have to be inspired because when it gets hard, ultimately you begin to think about why am I doing this in the first place? Because it’s a lot easier in that moment to quit. And so you’ve got to have a why in that moment that says, “This is worth doing, even though it’s hard.” If it was easy, everybody would do it. The hard is what makes it great. It’s my favorite lines from A League of their Own.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (35:28):

And so when I think about what does success mean to me, it’s making an impact through equipping and inspiring this next generation and the people around me. I believe that the marketplace needs folks who are invested in, who are going to lead well. And so it’s a honor to have an opportunity to make even a small impact in that world.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (35:53):

Well, Nelson, as we bring this to a close, is there anything you were hoping to share or get across that you haven’t had a chance to?

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (36:01):

Yeah, I mean, one of the things that we love about where we are in this season of our organization, we’re three years in, we have been very blessed. We have some financial stability. We’re growing, we’re doing great work, we’ve made impacts with clients. These are all great things. What this has ultimately given us the opportunity to additionally pursue is to be great investors in our community.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (36:25):

We see the community, and particularly we’re headquartered here in Atlanta, so we see the Atlanta community as a primary stakeholder. We believe that when Atlanta thrives, people thrive and when we thrive, Atlanta should thrive. And so we’ve got some amazing opportunities coming up in November.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (36:43):

We are entering into a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta to go build a playground in Southeast Atlanta, which is a huge opportunity for us. We are in the process of actually doing some fundraising for that. And so Tom might send you a link to putt in the show notes for anybody who makes it this far in the podcast and would like to donate. So super excited for you bringing that playground to life for these kids who don’t have something like that.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (37:11):

And again, I’ve got four boys and they love just the feeling of freedom and running around on a playground and jumping and sliding and so forth. And playgrounds are destinations for six year olds and eight year olds. And so it’s super cool, such an opportunity.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (37:28):

And we’re also in the process of engaging and potentially partnering with an organization in Atlanta that focuses on homelessness. And as I thought about why homelessness, why us and so forth, there’s a realization that homelessness is no one’s business problem. And yet, one of the things that I recognize as we’ve engaged with this organization is that we exist to bring in great technologists, equip and inspire them to be the next generation, then to launch them out into the marketplace. They exist to bring in homeless people, in my words, not theirs equip and inspire them, and then launch them out as contributing members of society who are connected socially. We have very similar visions.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (38:10):

And so we have a completely different audience, a completely different clientele, and yet, I think we have something unique that we can offer one another. And I think that’s what great partnerships are built on and great synergy comes from. And so I’m excited about not just the great work we’re doing with our clients, which we are, but I’m excited about the doors that opens for us to be contributing to the community and to be creating impacts, hopefully that extend far beyond the things that we thought of when we started this thing in the first place.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (38:43):

Well, Nelson, this has been a phenomenal, phenomenal interview. How can someone get in touch with you or more about your company if they’re interested in learning more?

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (38:52):

Yeah, absolutely. You can always find me on LinkedIn, so Nelson Davis vis, I think, I don’t know, we’ll put that in this show too, but definitely reach out there. The organization’s called Analytic Vizion, Vizion with a Z. V-I-Z-I-O-N. It’s kind of like data viz for those who know. If you know, you know.

Nelson Davis, Analytic Vizion (39:11):

And so check out the website. And then I’m on Twitter a little bit, but LinkedIn’s really probably the best place to find me and to find us. And we’re out there. We’ve got great consultants who are also on the cutting edge of data science, data engineering, data visualization, and they’ve got passion for what we’re building here. And so it’s amazing to watch them go out into the social community and to be engaging. And so super grateful for all of those things.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (39:46):

Nelson, thank you so much for a great interview. And let’s go ahead and jump into today’s three key takeaways. Number one, Nelson is in the data analytics business. And so the first little nugget in my opinion is how he described making data informed decisions. And I thought that was a great piece, to use data as part of the decision equation, but not the primary. And if you remember in episode 92 of our podcast, we interviewed Steve Robinson, who’s the former executive vice president with Chick-fil-A, and he shared a similar philosophy where they’re using data to gather information to help inform those decisions.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (40:30):

Take away number two. And this really gets back to the staff and team and culture that Nelson is creating. And he said, “Invite your employees into a story to be part of something great, to inspire them, to help them be motivated and part of your team.” And I think whether you’re, you’re inviting employees, whether you’re inviting franchisees, or maybe even great vendors or suppliers or contractors to come join your team, I think this lesson applies to all of it. So make sure there’s a story that you’re bringing them into.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (41:04):

Takeaway number three is when Nelson talked about his core leadership experience. I thought this was a great little takeaway and that he described how at his organization there are four books that every new person reads and that they use at his organization. And those four books are a business philosophy, a management philosophy, and really a leadership philosophy that he talked about. And it creates a common language and purpose for his team and staff to operate and work around. So I thought that was excellent. And maybe the takeaway for you, I know it is for me, I’m going to be doing this at our organization, is taking a look at those three or four books that really help expand upon the culture and type of business and organization we’re trying to build here. And maybe that’s something you can do at yours as well.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (41:59):

And now it’s time for today’s win-win. So today’s win-win is focused on equipping and inspiring the next generation. And he shared a great lesson learned that he had in his early thirties when he wrongly believed that he was what he did, that his professional career identity was his identity. I thought the takeaway out of that is something he put into action, which is how can you help and equip and inspire your team not to fall into that trap of being solely identified by their career and applying that knowledge there.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (42:41):

And then number two, I thought that he shared when he described success to him about equipping and inspiring, that those are words that are important to him in his personal life as well. And he shared the great story about coaching his son’s eight year old baseball team and how they just won the Dizzy Dean Championship, which congratulations, by the way. That’s a huge accomplishment.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (43:06):

But he asked his team a great question, a team of eight year olds. He said, “What do champions do?” And the answer is they finish. And so that’s the episode today, folks. Please make sure you subscribe to the podcast and give us a review. And remember, if you or anyone might be ready to franchise their business or take their franchise company to the next level, please connect with us at bigskyfranchiseteam.com. Thanks for tuning in and we look forward to having you back next week.

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