Businesses leaders that once used their instinct to make decisions in the best interest of the business are being asked to take a back seat to a new age of data driven decision making. The rise of the ‘black box’, data analytic methods and techniques that are increasingly opaque, has become a cause for concern for decision makers. Why? It can be summed up in one word – TRUST. Business leaders trusted their gut; they don’t know how to trust black boxes.
This trust gap is not confined to the upper tiers of the business or to shiny new black boxes. Individuals at all levels are using data on a daily basis to communicate but they are often asking their audience to implicitly trust them, the data or their analysis.
Let me introduce you to some characters that often appear in meetings where data is intended to educate, enlighten or inspire others to action but where it typically breaks down into conflict:
- The Dinosaur: We’ve already discussed them. Resistant to change and driven by their gut instinct over everything else.
- The Rabbit: Typically, someone associated with a department, data source or process that is the subject of discussion. They are likely to know a great deal about their area and are seeking the tinniest hole in your data, analysis or assumptions to undermine its credibility and save their own skin. Their persistence means the meeting agenda goes out the window once a sticking point is identified.