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data driven decisions

Data Driven Decisions or Emotional Choices?

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Many professionals look to the data to help make decisions. Data is important and critical for executives, scientists, and engineers. How does data affect your business? Are data driven decisions used or is it more based on emotions?

I remember sitting in a community college classroom in the mid-1980’s, our instructor challenged our thinking with a concept. “If you travel 8 to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit coming from fewer than 20 miles away will you arrive at class earlier?”

Most quickly suggested that, yes, you would. The instructor pushed for additional thinking about stop signs, streetlights, and even the possibility of waiting for a train that crosses near the entrance.

We live in a world of data. Data that might make a difference or it might not.

Powerful Numbers

Two pieces of hand sliced bread, three apples from the produces section at the market, or a coffee refill by the wait staff at your favorite breakfast spot. Which bread slice is bigger, which apple weighs the most, or did I get the most ounces coffee for my money?

Millions of people play the lottery even though the chances of winning are known to be very small.

Data is important but it might not tell the entire story.

Do you use data to make decisions? Nearly everyone does. Are you anchored to that data? Is the data accurate? Does a single number provide the guidance or is it more about a trend?

Data is probably important for decisions, but it doesn’t mean that people will make smart choices.

Emotions Sometimes Drive

The feeling of faster, bigger, and most value for your dollar is important. So is feeling lucky.

Consider though that all of those are about feelings and emotions. Fitting data to your emotions is commonplace. It might be easy to find an example.

What about the average, mean, or statistical probability, do any of those prove your choice will be the best?

Data Driven Decisions

Trends and probabilities are probably better than any single number.

Data designed to fit or provided as proof is probably not a trend.

Be careful of data, it might be guided by hope and emotions.

One number matters much less than the trend.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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