The path to establishing effective institutional data governance might never be smooth, but some paths are smoother than others.
Success is more likely when people know their prime object is to advance the mission of the institution. Leaders recognize that data governance is the policy framework that establishes that key administrative data, regardless of where it is created or where it resides, is an asset of the institution, to be used to guide strategy and decision-making.
Success is less likely when people are primarily advocates for their area of custodianship or for a set of professional principles. Issues of confidentiality, security, data management, and protection of personal information are important, but do not define the core value proposition of data governance.
Advocates see policy through a lens that takes on the colour of their subject-matter expertise. Leaders appreciate the importance of these considerations, but strive to place those important pieces in proper relation to the value proposition.
The beauty is that advocacy vs. leadership isn’t about rank. You get to choose which role to play, and when. When you advise, you might do best to be an advocate. When you get to frame policy, you need to be a leader.
Data governance requires both mindsets, but ultimately leadership must prevail.