Leading Change
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Why No One Listens to Data

Have you ever gotten into an opinion battle? My guess is that if you were “lower” than the other person you lost the battle.

“I suspect that the reason for the reluctance to engage in experiments is that no one (for example Michael from Whole Foods) wants to take any risks. Everyone just wants to do their job. Because of that companies continue to behave in the same way without taking any new interesting directions…. very sad.”–Dan Ariely, from his Predictably Irrational Blog

Ariely goes on:

“Companies in general are willing to spend lots of money on consultants, they are willing to spend lots of money on gambling that their intuitions are correct, and sometimes they even spend money on focus groups.  But, when it comes to testing things empirically, the typical answer is “interesting, but  not for us.”

A great way to apply this in ministry is to look at the event or activity that people believe strongly in but has had mixed or less than average results in relation to the mission, vision and values. Look carefully at what it takes in terms of time, money, and people to execute and the increase you get in alignment or motivation towards the mission, vision, and values. You might come up with some very exciting ways to innovate and change the event to produce better results.

But you have to put aside the opinions.

photo courtesy of tdr1


    • for sure steve. i heard someone call it the “big gut” dynamic–whoever has the biggest gut feeling and the most organizational or corporate power wins.

      the potential for tremendous success is high if everyone at the table (high and low organizationally) uses data to fuel their opinions. i’m definitely looking to get better at taking my gut out of the equation.

  1. Totally agree.

    Recently one of our best funded, most-hyped strategies went under the microscope. For the first time we collected and analyzed hard data about it’s effectiveness. Guess what. Probably not as hot as the stories and anecdotes indicated.

    Stories for marketing. Data for decisions in my books.

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