Tag Archives: data

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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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data listening

Data Listening, Do You Have This Skill?

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Data is out there, it is everywhere. We have lots and lots of data but what does it all mean? What about the opinions from friends, coworkers, or clients? Are you effective at data listening?

When we hear the word data we often think about numbers. We think about the financial statement, the metric for production efficiency, or the results from a scientific study. Sure, that is data, but so is the information that surrounds us.

Data Trouble Spots

Several trouble spots with data often plague organizational team members. It may be the CEO, or it may be the front-line team lead. It happens in stand-alone decisions or in the group or committee. Are you listening to the data? Should you?

Here are a few trouble spots:

  • Biased listening
  • Inappropriate frame
  • Too much data
  • Too little data
  • Opinions not facts

Often the more experienced we believe we are, the less effective we are at data listening. As leaders grow and elevate their status they may also start to listen with less efficiency and more bias.

Self-perception or deception is often problematic. Leaders make choices based on gut feel, or what seems to be the most mainstream point of view. Worse, they sometimes do it for future positioning or self-interest.

Data Listening

Some listening deficiencies are easily improved. Others are harder to identify or address.

Framing is a significant problem. Simply put, people don’t know what they don’t know. Every decision we make is based on our frame.

While the origins are obscure, the idiom, “Think outside the box,” is often attributed to John Adair who studied critical thinking in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Watch out for the frame you place around your decisions.

Information and data are everywhere, it is the art of exceptional listening that makes a difference for what happens next. Thinking alike is often just as problematic as it is good.

Sometimes the best way to see the data is with a different set of eyes.

-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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bad data

The Consequences of Bad Data

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A data driven society? Yes, it’s likely we can apply that label. If we have a data driven society what happens when we have bad data?

As I write this, it is winter. Early February, in Pennsylvania. We’ve recently had some very cold temperatures, snow, and of course, ice.

In the winter months I mostly drive my 20-year-old Tahoe. Winter roads in the Northeast are not kind to vehicle life. I’m thankful for my Tahoe. It’s a trusty rusty machine.

Bad Data

Yesterday, it was around 60 degrees. Snow and ice melting rapidly. I jumped in my Tahoe to proceed to an event. Inside the vehicle it felt so warm, I had to crack a window.

Once underway and rolling down the highway, I glanced to my rearview mirror where there is a digital thermostat. It was displaying minus 36 Fahrenheit, then minus 37, eventually hitting minus 40. Should I trust these numbers?

At the event, I overheard people discussing the local temperature. Comparing the past week, to the current week. Funny how many different temperatures were being reported. Are these facts?

During the event, there was additional information exchanged. Opinions shared, research claimed, materials produced, and notes taken. People processing data.

In a recent workforce meeting I attended, an organization cited an employee turnover ratio of 56 percent. I thought, it must be incorrect, perhaps a decimal problem, or some other error. I asked, “Is there a decimal problem?” The answer was, “No.” Good thing I asked.

Part of the Solution

Our workplaces are often outlined and highlighted with data. Numbers, reports, infographics, facts, opinions, statistics, and presentations.

Be careful with your data. Know what you are presenting. Do appropriate research. We can be a part of the problem, or a part of the solution.

Everyone has a responsibility with data.

-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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AI Change

Will AI Change The Customer Journey

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Is AI (artificial intelligence) going to change the customer journey? AI change is happening now. Nearly everything is being influenced and driven by data. Data means automation, and automation means AI.

It has been happening for years. In the past decade it has been accelerating. Are you moving towards AI? Probably, whether you recognize it or not.

Front runners in AI will change the definition and behaviors of the customer journey. Businesses who have not adapted will appear to be offering an inferior experience.

Data Driven

We once went to the bank on Friday to cash a paycheck. Then direct deposit became popular, first as an option, eventually as the norm. People are also using less cash and doing more debit or credit card purchases.

This isn’t news, but what does it mean? It means data. Data means automation, and automation means AI.

Now imagine interfacing this data capture with other data to enhance the customer experience. Imagine knowing when, how, and what your next move will likely be, or perhaps, should be.

Imagine every Friday you go to a local ATM and withdraw fifty dollars in cash. Next imagine that every holiday weekend in the summer you spend at a family home two hours from your residence.

What is the AI application here? Will AI change something?

AI Change

On the Friday of a holiday weekend imagine the ATM asks you one additional question. “It is a holiday weekend, you’ll likely be out of town, would you like to withdraw additional cash?”

Of course, some would quickly identify that the ATM could be programmed to do this without knowing your usual travel plans.

What if you started out of town on Friday of a holiday weekend and your smartphone reminded you that you had not yet visited the ATM?

Imagine that you also normally visited the dry cleaner, stopped at a convenience store, and checked the weather through an on-line app.

Now imagine you are running late and you get a (smart phone) reminder that the dry cleaner is about to close, the convenience store is nearly out of ice for your cooler, and a thunderstorm is about to break out in the area.

Better yet, it reminds you that you’re now traveling away from your home and with the coming storm you’ve left two windows open.

Wouldn’t it be great? It is coming. In fact, most pieces of this are already emerging.

-DEG

Originally posted on July 16, 2018, last updated on May 4, 2019.

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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