How To Make Sense Of Data
Data is the lifeblood of any organisation and any company that cannot manage and use data is in a seriously weak position. The problem for many organisations is making crucial data freely available but also accessible in a format that non-numerical and analytical team members will recognise, use and feel comfortable with.
In many times the message behind the numbers often gets lost behind the numbers!
Staff just do not understand what is going on and the more data we harvest the more the numbers get in the way of understanding what is going on.
For numbers to be useful and something that can be used to assist managers, they must be relevant, make sense and to have some meaning that we can all get a benefit from.
- Have a sense of scale that can be identified by your audience: make the numbers link to something that is familiar and has meaning. Complex numbers have meaning if they are made clearer by comparing them to something relatable in terms of size and volume. Get this right and the audience will understand the scale of what you are asking and recommending.
- Link data to relatable sizes, distances and volumes: measures of width, height, thickness, or distance are key to bringing the numbers you are talking about to life.
- Link data to relatable time: time is good for making comparisons because we all recognise and work with its power. Time gives power to making comparisons. Time is also money which again gives power to the scale of change and relative gains and losses.
Data is used to identify problems and opportunities for the organisation and for you and your staff. Used well data gives critical insights into making the best decision possible but to secure buy-in from your staff they have to be able to fully understand what is being said and why it is important.
Scale is the critical success factor in getting the message across.
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