The Green Bay Packers just announced that Brett Favre will be inducted into their hall of fame in 2015 and his (in)famous #4 will be retired. Favre is remembered as the prototypical gunslinger quarterback: quick to pull the trigger on a throw, lots of big plays, but plenty of missteps too (he’s the career leader in both touchdowns and interceptions). Aberdeen’s Analytical Mind Map has discovered a similar breed of decision maker in the ranks of analytics users.
Who are the Gunslingers? Beginning in February 2014, Aberdeen collected data from over 650 Business Intelligence (BI) users on the emotional traits and analytical tendencies that mold their decision environment. Survey takers rated themselves on whether they were a gut-driven or data-driven decision maker. A sizeable group of gut-driven decision makers emerged and the persona of the analytical Gunslinger began to take shape. To be identified as a Gunslinger, a Mind Map respondent must have the primary characteristic of falling on the gut-driven side of the decision-making spectrum. Additionally, Gunslingers need to share one or more secondary characteristics: either they are more of an analysis consumer rather than a creator, or they self-identify as a risk taker.
While Aberdeen research typically lauds the merits of data-driven decision making, there’s nothing inherently wrong with being a Gunslinger. There are myriad roles and situations where a Gunslinger is the right or only person for the job. Certain decision makers don’t have the luxury of prolonged number crunching. Also, Best-in-Class analytical decision making always leaves room for experience and well-honed instincts. Gunslingers have to make flash judgments all day. In that environment, the only thing worse than a bad decision is no decision.
By their nature, Gunslingers always act quickly. However, they should take the time to consider the factors that determine whether the decisions they fire off are good, bad, or ugly.