Not opinions or anecdotes. Opinions depend on past experiences and personal preferences. Anecdotes often seek to confirm those past experiences and personal preferences whether or not they are true.
Relationships and personal opinions can significantly affect decision making in non-profits. This is not a statement of value (good or bad), but a reality that must be addressed. Networked organizations must leverage these relationships but also beware of allowing them to over-influence decision making.
“In short, what people think they want is news, but what they really crave is olds…Not news but olds, telling people that what they think they already know is true.”-Terry Pratchet, from Dave McRaney’s post on Confirmation Bias
You can lead significant change in your ministry or non-profit by starting with data, rather than an opinion or preference, and letting the information guide and shape your thoughts, and those of your team’s.
Otherwise this might happen:
“People who already supported Obama were the same people buying books which painted him in a positive light. People who already disliked Obama were the ones buying books painting him in a negative light.”–Confirmation Bias
Social media has provided the opportunity to gain rich and abundant information. The people we are seeking to reach, mobilize, and empower constantly share tweets, Facebook updates, videos, and photos revealing their preferences, values, thoughts, and feelings. Leaders who do the hard work of going out and gathering this data, organizing it into meaningful information, and presenting it visually will be able to lead significant change.
What kinds of data are you looking at to help inform your decision making?