Because I’m used to working with numbers, I see them differently to most people. I can usually tell if someone is talking out of somewhere they shouldn’t be talking out of pretty quickly. And often the difference is one of perspective.
In my experience, people use data to convince themselves about a position they’ve already made their mind up about much more often than they use data to get to the heart of the issue.
I look for the story the data is telling. Most other people look for data which proves their decision is correct.
There was a good example the other day on Twitter. A chart of a set of data was being challenged…not by me, I hasten to add, I just came across the thread in my feed.
It was true that the data, as presented, was correct as far as I could see. It was just a relatively short-term snippet out of a longer term trend. Did that prove much? I’m not so sure. But there were plenty of people convinced this was some sort of incontrovertible proof of them being right.
If that short-term trend continued, they might have had more of a point. But a random six month stretch out of a 30 or 50 year trend by itself is unlikely to be much more than a short-term aberration.
Should you keep an eye on it, in case the trend continues? Absolutely!
Should you completely upend your business model today on the off-chance it continues, only to see the trend move back towards its long-term average a few months later? Well that might be unwise.
That’s one of the things we do as coaches. We bring a perspective people inside the business don’t have. It’s not a matter of right or wrong, it’s just that I’ve yet to see a set of data that couldn’t be interpreted in at least a handful of different ways, depending on what starting point you select and which variables you measure.
Inside your organisation, all your staff have every inventive to find ways to prove they’re doing swimmingly. That’s how they keep their jobs, get promoted and justify pay rises at annual review time.
As a coach, I’ve got no incentive to do anything other than bring a different perspective, without fear or favour, to help you get to the heart of the issue as quickly as possible. Because, once you get to the heart of the issue, it’s a lot more likely you’ll solve whatever problems you have than if you stay stuck in the same place because everyone has convinced you that there’s no earthly way they could perform any better than they already are.
Working like this, we get you out of trouble faster and build sales and profits in your business like it’s running on rocket fuel.