Tag Archives: data

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finding truth

Finding Truth And Pink Volkswagon Beetles

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How much time or effort do you spend finding truth? Is truth really about facts or is it more about belief?

In religion, many people insist that they are stating facts, yet they actually may be stating beliefs.

Scientific research is sometimes based on belief. You might examine it statistically. Is it a null hypothesis? Could it be true?

We often struggle for truth or facts. Many turn to the internet for answers.

Is Wikipedia a valid source? What about YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter? Who decides?

In a general sense, each individual decides. Does belief make it real?

Finding Truth

There is an old story that suggests you find what you look for.

You might have heard the story connected to pink Volkswagon Beetles. Very low production numbers suggest that not many people have seen a pink Volkswagon Beetle but yet if you start watching for one, it may appear.

In the workplace, we might turn to data. Where does the data come from?

If we see it with our own eyes, if we experience it, is it real, valid, and true?

Daniel Simons, and Christopher Chabris, tested our seeing is believing in 1999 with the students passing the basketball test. If you have experienced this test on selective attention, you will realize that seeing may be believing although it may not be the truth.

What is the truth?

The truth may very well be what you believe.

For your job, your career, or your business endeavor, the first and perhaps most important step is believing.

Belief often creates truth.

Or so it seems.

-DEG

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.


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trusted decisions

Trusted Decisions Are Change Decisions

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Are you making or encouraging trusted decisions? Is every decision trusted?

Most decisions involve a change. A shift of direction, a pivot, or a whole new beginning.

People often suggest that you can’t change other people. Each individual decides when and if they will change.

Technically, there is probably some truth in that notion.

Begging, pleading, or pressuring someone to make a different choice or decision really only happens when they decide or agree that they will do it.

You might present evidence, tell a compelling story, or simply ask for a new direction. Sometimes this is the mind-changer and sometimes it is not enough.

When you don’t trust the choices, when you don’t have the vision for the future outcome, you may stay undecided.

Is trust a factor?

Trusted Decisions

At the restaurant, you’re often curious if the special is good, if the portion size is right, and if it is a popular item. You seek answers to those questions. When you collect the data, you may decide to trust the special as a viable option.

In the workplace, people are often seeking data for their decision. They may ask for feedback, ask for the report, or dig into a spreadsheet to discover what the data shows.

Wrong choices are costly. They may add costs to the operation, may lead to declining sales, or even worse, tarnish a brand or your reputation.

Trust is one of the most significant factors of any decision.

People will decide. They’ll make a shift, a change, or pivot when they trust. Trust their gut, trust the data, or trust the recommendation from someone else.

Until then, things won’t change.

-DEG

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.


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business forecasting

Business Forecasting, Today Is Easier Than Tomorrow

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Do you know an expert at business forecasting? What you sold yesterday, or what is shipping today, is easy to report. When you can predict tomorrow you have something special.

Some might quickly argue that what happens today will be the predictor of tomorrow. Fair enough, perhaps, yet an actualized vision of tomorrow, knowing the future, seems more desirable.

When you attend the staff meeting, you’ll probably hear some reports about what happened recently, or across the most previous quarter. There may be a comparison to a year ago, or even two, but that doesn’t help anyone know for sure what tomorrow will look like.

Looking out your window right now you can describe the weather. You may also be able to access some weather data from yesterday, last month, or a year ago. Given the forecast for tomorrow or next week is risky.

Even our smartphones may show us historical photos which help us remember what we were doing one year ago, or two, three, or more.

Honestly, it is easy to describe right now, recently, or maybe even last year.

Can you predict the future?

Business Forecasting

Business forecasting is a great skill. It is not the same as strategy development, and certainly, it doesn’t have the guarantees of the report from last week.

Risk is always a factor. The wedding planner may have had a forecast for the 2020 wedding season. It probably wasn’t the doom and gloom that actually presented itself because of the unknown pandemic when the forecast was made.

Product and raw material shortages might be a forecast, or they may actually be factual data following the shutdown of a factory, mining, or harvesting operation weeks or months before. This information may not be a forecast or a prediction, but simply a report based on historical data.

It seems that most businesses seek is information of the unknown. Sure, historical data matters and it may be helpful, but it is unclear if it represents an accurate prediction for tomorrow.

The forecast for the weather is a risk, so is forecasting in your business.

Use the data. Call your best shot.

-DEG

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.


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data facts

Data Facts Seem Compelling, Are They Valid?

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Decision makers and analyzers often seek the facts. When presented with more information confidence seems to rise. Data facts matter but are they really painting the true picture?

People anchor to data. Often wrongfully so. Historical data is not the same as benchmark data. Data may appear factual but only based on what is presented.

Often, it is not the complete picture.

In the workplace, some employees are loud about their accomplishments. It is a way of tooting their own horn. It’s not all bad and it is sometimes required but seldom does anyone ask, “What’s missing?”

What’s missing may be work performed by others who are not shouting. Work that is easily overlooked internally but greatly appreciated by the external customer.

If it is not spoken and isn’t sought out, does it matter? Of course, it matters but it is often overlooked.

Data Facts

What is reported in the news isn’t everything that has happened. It is only what is being reported.

Awareness of the data source and the depth is seldom considered. The expectation is trust.

Many business decisions are made only by the data that is presented. The quest for differing opinions, deeper investigation, or alternative views are seldom considered desirable. Largely, they are rejected, silenced, or ridiculed.

Data that doesn’t fit the narrative is unwelcomed.

When data aligns with the prescribed suggestions it is considered good enough. It passes the test or satisfies the wishful expectations and the information stops.

Meanwhile valid data is often being omitted or overlooked.

Compelling doesn’t always mean accurate, and it seldom means that the entire picture is on display.

-DEG

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.


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workplace beliefs

Do Workplace Beliefs Outweigh Documented Results?

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What are your workplace beliefs? Do you believe you and your team are doing your best work? Do believe in the quality, customer satisfaction, and the efficiencies of your goods or services?

Have you ever believed in something so strongly that you tend to ignore the facts?

People believe in many things.

Religion

Global Warming

Bigfoot

Aliens

Moon Landing

It only takes one of these to get people engaged in a discussion, and I haven’t even mentioned conspiracy theories, government transparency, and the age of the Great Sphinx of Giza.

Most beliefs are personal, that is why they are often said to be off-limits in the workplace or in mixed social settings. Religion and politics are two of the most commonly suggested to avoid.

Imagine a belief in any one thing. Imagine the belief to be so strong that you can’t see the facts, you deny the existence of evidence, and you push forward with your belief.

What effort or extremes might you go to in order to keep your belief alive?

Workplace Beliefs

Sometimes the missing element in the workplace is belief. Dreams are shattered, expectations squandered, and the future outlook appears to be more of the same.

Forcing people into a belief is unlikely at best.

It is compelling messages, forward motion, and the perception of evidence that help shape direction. Even when the data may illustrate something contrary to the belief.

You can present the facts, show the data, and tell the story. Personal commitment will always be based on belief.

People spend a lifetime trying to prove someone or something wrong. People spend a lifetime trying to prove something as correct.

Bring the documentation but it is not nearly as powerful as what each individual chooses to believe.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. 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.


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report data

Does Report Data Stand On Its Own?

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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.

Report Data

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.

-DEG

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.


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assumption decisions

Assumption Decisions Are Made In Every Meeting

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Meetings are often about decisions. They are also about information, thinking, and often about assumptions. Are you making assumption decisions?

At the very start of every meeting there are assumptions. The assumption about why Jane is missing, why Bob looks worried, and about how the meeting will evolve.

Most meetings expect reflection. Reflection is part of experiential learning and it is part of being a participant and contributor.

What are you reflecting upon?

Meeting Anxiety

Are you wondering what will happen when you’re asked to verbally contribute? Will you be called upon to vote, respond, or is the expectation to simply nod your head?

What is the elephant in the room? Is the elephant your imagination or do others feel the same thing?

Everyone knows that we shouldn’t make decisions based upon assumptions. However, when the data is lacking, when we’re lazy, or when our experiences tell us it is safe, we do it.

Technology and data are helping us get better. We have gauges and sensors that help eliminate assumptions.

The temperature in the room, made known by a gauge. A tire with low pressure on our car, known by a gauge. The amount of storage used on our computing device, yes, of course, known by the data or gauge.

Is valid and reliable data better than making an assumption?

Assumption Decisions

All of our modern conveniences help us do better by being smarter. We make better choices because the information seems irrefutable.

Occasionally, an assumption will get in the way. We’ll either choose to ignore the data or we’ll take a different path because the path appears more consistent with our gut feel.

What assumption decisions are you or your team making? And the outcomes, how have they worked out?

-DEG

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.


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historical performance

Historical Performance is not Benchmark Performance

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It often starts with, “What did we do last year?” Many people and organizations set a course to measure future performance against historical performance. Win or lose, exceed the previous, or met expectations, is that high performance?

Measuring performance is always relative. Whichever team wins the championship has a different history when compared with the team who didn’t make it to the playoffs.

Historical Performance

Often people and organizations measure against their last performance or recent performance.

It is an anchor. Where we place the mark.

As people we tend to anchor to data. Initially people often frame according to the record. The record high jump, the fastest time, or the longest distance. Guinness has a book of records.

These records are valuable and important. A point of origin, a starting place, and a remembrance of achievement.

Is the act repeatable? Was it luck?

Benchmark Performance

Benchmark performance is considered to be different. A collection of data that specifies the approximate.

The average time for a marathon, lap times at a Motorsport event, and in golf, par.

There are many ways to set performance standards. Some of them feel more important than others.

Performance measurement may depend on what is trying to be accomplished. If the goal is to improve or get better, it may be connected to history.

The problem with historical data is often in its assumption of accuracy. Is the lap time unbeatable? Can you score under par?

Weighing a pound less on the scale after your workout is perhaps a good measure.

Bringing in one dollar more in sales revenue this year when compared with last year is better, but it is unlikely the limit. And, likely shouldn’t be the goal.

Becoming better or the best is often determined by the anchor.

-DEG

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.


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analyzed enough

Wait, We Haven’t Analyzed Enough

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One person always wants to decide fast, quick, and hurried. Another wants more time, more data, and additional input. Have you analyzed enough?

It seems that there is always more data. We can ask a few more people, research some old work, and attempt to benchmark the industry. Does it really matter?

One trouble spot is that more data isn’t really what people seek. They are seeking more certainty, less risk, and the fear of a bad decision.

Wait for What?

Procrastination on a decision can still be a decision. “I’m making the choice to not decide, yet.”

A delay sometimes feels safer. The feeling is that you can’t be criticized because you didn’t decide, only if you do decide and you’re wrong.

You weigh the risk of the decision on the cost of being wrong instead of on the cost of time or the cost of being stuck.

It is the fallacy of critical thinking. No choice is a safe choice.

Analyzed Enough

The reality is that time is often not on our side. Patience is important, but time always keeps moving.

A decision or choice not made may allow the window to close, or worse, the competition jumps through leaving you behind.

You can spend a lot of time reviewing the past. Reliving the mistakes from before and feeling stuck about the action you should take next.

Experience suggests more watching, listening, and learning, yet time can’t wait.

Change needs motion. Motion means you are not stuck.

If there is a change you need to make, today may be a great day to start.

-DEG

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.


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frame bigger

Frame Bigger or Smaller?

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Decisions we make are based on our frame. How our community works, based on our frame. Our World, political, and religious views, based on our frame. Should you frame bigger?

When you shun the input of others you are limiting your data. When your community doesn’t reach beyond the river, highway, or state line, you’re limiting your exposure. If you decide to watch only one news channel you are limiting your perspective.

Push Data

The internet is a great service. As a component infrastructure, it matters.

Use a browser to research a product or service. You’ll be reminded of it again and again. Look up something you’re interested to purchase from eBay, you will see a lot more of it in the margins.

This isn’t a coincidence.

What we believe is largely based on our experiences. It is what exists within our frame.

Bigger Frame

Your position on global warming, based on your frame. Your belief about the pyramids in Egypt, based on your frame. Political views, should you choose to engage, based on your frame.

Many people feel like they are in a World of information overload. Perhaps it is true, yet differences in thinking are often viewed as a false narrative, not an opportunity for a different perspective.

In a World where there is more information at our fingertips than we can possibly digest, we must wonder about the validity and reliability of our data.

Should we question the size of our frame? Should we allow more ideas to enter then filter, instead of filter and then allow entry?

Your frame will not only condition what you believe, it will also determine everything that happens next.

-DEG

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.


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