Data-Driven Work Cultures: James Becker of Fusion Growth Partners On How To Effectively Leverage Data To Take Your Company To The Next Level

An Interview With Pierre Brunelle

Pierre Brunelle, CEO at Noteable
Authority Magazine

--

Test/measure and audit processes. You must know the stimuli, and how much of that to generate, and the cost of that. And what is the revenue of doing it all? That data can suggest direction.

As part of our series about “How To Effectively Leverage Data To Take Your Company To The Next Level”, I had the pleasure of interviewing James Becker.

James Becker is the CEO and founder of Fusion Growth Partners, has been in real estate, mortgage, and business development for over 25 years. Fusion Growth Partners is a business incubator and micro venture capital firm which invests in small service-based businesses including real estate agent businesses. His entrepreneurial spirit ignited his starting multiple businesses and sparked a hunger to learn about the intricacies of business growth and sustainability, as well as the importance of implementing efficient systems and processes, no matter what the business model. His vision, along with scaling Fusion Growth Partners nationwide, is to share his wealth of knowledge along with his insights and perspectives regarding the practical utilization of the lessons gleaned from history and the lives of great people whose contributions impacted the world.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I started in Real Estate in 1989. Like most agents I was very ambitious. And like most agents I attended the various coaching events that would come through town. I would get very excited at the end of those events. Over time my business grew to the top 1% of the country in terms of number of transactions. During this time, I noticed this phenomenon… agent goes to coach, agent signs ups year on year but the agent implements very little of what they learned consistently, if anything at all. Knowledge is really good to grow a business, but if it is not implemented it doesn’t do anything. It’s this implementation that is the key but also way harder to execute on, and that is where Fusion Growth Partner was born: as a way to solve the implementation issue.

RE agents needed to learn how to focus on the client — massive companies

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

As I think about it, a lot of the mistakes we made were not funny, and it felt as though early on, all we ever did was put out fires.

There was one occasion whereby I came up with this concept called the diamond project. We did a seminar and we had 40 people show up. The seminar was so successful that we sold the product to all 40 people. The only issue was that we hadn’t built anything out. I had been so taken away by the selling process. It was only the next morning I realized the mess I created for myself and my team.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I love the movie Rocky! There are so many romantic things about it. Regardless of who you are, you still have a shot in this country. Through passion, love and discipline, you can change your world and those around you… Hard work matters. A nobody, a loser who takes a shot. I still love that movie today. He woke up one morning and had a transformation.

My favorite quote is Theodore Roosevelt’s ‘Man in the Arena’:

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; bu whole does actually strive to do the deeds, who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory or defeat.”

Source: https://www.commonlit.org/en/texts/the-man-in-the-arena

Are you working on any new, exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?

Yes we are creating a new platform that will allow agents to create teams. It is another way of providing incredible value and a growth and career plan for everybody whose business we support.

I have come to understand that when people look for a job they largely go for the opportunity of the job. If you provide the opportunity people will come. This is yet another addition to the arsenal of ways we already agents grow their business in the recruitment arena.

Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion about empowering organizations to be more “data-driven.” My work centers on the value of data visualization and data collaboration at all levels of an organization, so I’m particularly passionate about this topic. For the benefit of our readers, can you help explain what exactly it means to be data-driven? On a practical level, what does it look like to use data to make decisions?

Data to business is the same as knowing how many calories you’re consuming when you are on a diet — you have to know what direction you are going in order to effect change.

Being data driven is everything. Key performance indicators are exactly that. These are data indicators that tell us a story, as to whether you are going to do well or not. What is the frequency of contact? How many calls do I need to make? What is the cost of the lead generation I am doing and what is the return on investment? Everything is data driven. Importantly, the more you grow the more important it is to be data driven.

Which companies can most benefit from tools that empower data collaboration?

Any company that has the willingness to look at the facts and bad news, coupled with the intestinal fortitude to take the action to correct the issues. Sometimes things are so bad, we don’t want to look at it.

James Dad — who I love, was having some memory problems — go to the Dr, go to DR… why don’t you go to the Dr, because I am afraid of what they might tell me.

We’d love to hear about your experiences using data to drive decisions. In your experience, how has data analytics and data collaboration helped improve operations, processes, and customer experiences? We’d love to hear some stories if possible.

It is impossible to move forward if you are not auditing your business. And for some of our clients testing and measuring is more difficult than learning a foreign language. One of the more rewarding parts of assisting many small businesses is the breakthrough moment when a client realizes why it is we do the testing and measure, coupled with the understanding of how necessary it is to their business and financial success.

Has the shift towards becoming more data-driven been challenging for some teams or organizations from your vantage point? What are the challenges? How can organizations solve these challenges?

Personally, it has been difficult for me to get on the data track — because I came out of the start-up track which was instinctive. As the organization grows instinct becomes less effective. When you are a creature of habit, you need to make the choice to honor and act on the data over the habits you have formed.

For clients, yes, a constant problem. Because they are small businesses, the concept of testing and measuring/auditing is not popular. Most people who want to improve the health of their weight will get on the scale or count calories. If they don’t, they have a low chance of success. Data without question is absolutely necessary. What the real challenge is, the encouraging the clients to have the emotional will power to look at the data.

Ok. Thank you. Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are “Five Ways a Company Can Effectively Leverage Data to Take It To The Next Level”? Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Test/measure and audit processes. You must know the stimuli, and how much of that to generate, and the cost of that. And what is the revenue of doing it all? That data can suggest direction.
  2. Have the emotional will to look at the data that may present bad news. A lot of businesses actually have the information, but they lack the emotional drive to even look at the data. They continue along the same line and hope things get better. “Hope is not a strategy”
  3. Comprehension of that data. The next roadblock to success. So you have audited and have the data, you have plucked up the willpower to look at that Data, but now you cannot understand what it all means. This is something Fusion Growth Partners assists its clients with. We help disseminate the data so you can understand the direction from it.
  4. The willingness to take the action necessary to move forward. A lot of forward direction requires emotional willpower is not the same as following something logically. Logical direction has no willpower behind it.
  5. Do it all over again. This is not a once-in-a-lifetime process, more a once-a-month process. The more you do this and the better you become at it, the faster and more successful your business will become.

The name of this series is “Data-Driven Work Cultures”. Changing a culture is hard. What would you suggest is needed to change a work culture to become more Data-Driven?

I don’t believe there should even be a question of the importance of Data in businesses anymore. It is essential to the running of nearly every aspect. Culture is always the problem. Having the emotional desire to change based on what the data is telling you will make or break businesses. Most businesses will need to drive themselves to have the emotional engagement to use the data to change but also engender that willpower to every staff member underneath them.

The future of work has recently become very fluid. Based on your experience, how do you think the needs for data will evolve and change over the next five years?

Vitally important. With the fragmentation of the workplace alone, data is required even just to tell people how to work and what to work on, each day. And whilst there appears to be a trend back to the workplace, it is unlikely to ever return to what it was. Even the fact that we now know that we can work remotely (because we have been forced to do it), means that as an optional extra, data will drive that space, users and trends into the future.

Does your organization have any exciting goals for the near future? What challenges will you need to tackle to reach them? How do you think data analytics can best help you to achieve these goals?

We are growing at an unprecedented rate. Analytics are the backbone behind the data driving almost every aspect of our growth, in running internal office systems for clients. Analytics is an integral part that decides the direction of the systems that we place into their businesses to drive growth for our clients.

How can our readers further follow your work?

Visit https://www.growwithfusion.com/

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

Thank-you!

About The Interviewer: Pierre Brunelle is co-CEO and Chief Product Officer (CPO) of Noteable, the collaborative notebook platform that enables teams to use and visualize data, together. Prior to Noteable, Brunelle led Amazon’s internal and SageMaker notebook initiatives. Pierre holds an MS in Building Engineering and an MRes in Decision Sciences and Risk Management.

--

--

Pierre Brunelle, CEO at Noteable
Authority Magazine

Pierre Brunelle is the CEO at Noteable, a collaborative notebook platform that enables teams to use and visualize data, together.