Have you examined the report data? Does it make sense, does it add up? Can it stand on its own?
Not without a story.
You’ve Been Informed
The technical conference wouldn’t really be a conference if the data could stand on its own. Everyone would just get the report and everyone would be informed.
Information overload feels like a chronic problem to many people. So much data and so little time for the empathy required to make sense of it all.
Stories change that for us. It changes it for you, and it changes it for me.
People often wonder, “What’s in it for me?”
That is precisely why data doesn’t stand on its own. Data needs a narrative, an executive overview, or a deep story to put it all into perspective.
Certainly, the story guides the belief and the future outcomes. It is a slippery slope when you consider how bias or stereotyping affects the story. Then the data may also come into question.
Data may be reliable, yet is it always valid? Consistent data doesn’t guarantee it is authentic, accurate, or valid.
The information we receive is always brought to life through a story. The authenticity or belief behind the narrative guides the thoughts and opinions of those receiving the information.
Is this brainwashing? Someone may suggest, yes, it is. Others will argue that it is merely a presentation of the facts.
I guess it really depends on your personal narrative. What is the story that you tell yourself? What do you choose to believe?
Does your “gut feel” have something to do with your life experiences? Some will label it as instinct. Yet, what we know as instinct is also rooted in life experiences. Touch the fire, you’ll get burnt.
Report data doesn’t stand on its own. It is the narrative in front of the data that suggests how you’ll interpret its value or meaning.
Honest, unbiased observation is the key for the integrity of the data. It develops from the story.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.