Your Data Is Talking To You. Are You Listening?

More importantly, can you understand what it’s saying?

These days, more and more (and more) data keeps coming at us, and if you’re like me, you’re wondering what to do with all. Can it help you run your business better? Can it reveal important facts about your customers? Can it identify nonusers of your products or services and show you how to convert them into users?

For those in management and strategic planning in healthcare systems, can data help guide CEOs’ decisions? Can it help hospitals respond more quickly to market and cultural shifts taking place all around them? These are all important questions.

To have meaning, data has to be visualized

As I write in my recent article in Healthcare Marketing Report, perhaps the true value of data lies not in the data itself but in how people visualize it. The challenge is our own brains, which tend to sort through incoming data and only capture those data points that affirm what we already know or believe to be true. The rest we simply discount or ignore.

I assert that to really understand the meaning of data, we need to take it and turn it into a story that helps people act upon it and share it, thereby influencing and leading others. (You can read my entire HMR article by clicking here.)

How to hear what your data is saying and turn it into the right story

The brain takes data and converts it into stories in order to make sense of it. Therefore, to understand what your data is saying to you and what it can mean for your organization, you need to visualize it and turn it into a story that you can share with your co-workers, management team and customers.

Storytelling is what enables your in-house staff and out-in-the-marketplace users to gain insight from the data so they can use it to solve their problems or unmet needs. However, be aware that you may need to craft difference story lines for different audiences in order to be most persuasive.

An effective narrative has 4 elements that help the brain visualize what you’re trying to convey

These elements are:

  1. Characters
  2. Connection
  3. Conflict
  4. Conquest

A story containing these elements result in better understanding of the key points you wish to make, as well as recall weeks and months later. They also compel listeners to share the story and act upon the insights conveyed by the story line.

So, what story is your data trying to tell? 

Your data is talking. Maybe it’s time to start listening, then crafting the story it’s telling into a narrative that people can understand and respond to. Remember, you’re the storyteller!

Want to better “hear” your data? As a start, read/listen to these blogs and podcasts:

Are you ready for the future or running from it? We can help.

At Simon Associates Management Consultants, our specialty is offering tools and strategies to help you re-think an issue and tackle it in new ways. As culture change experts, we emphasize the importance of company culture, how to anticipate and adapt to the changing workplace of the future, and the pain associated with dealing with change. We invite you to contact us to discuss how our team of specialized corporate anthropologists and business change management advisors can work with you, and your data, so that you and your business can capitalize on today’s challenges and achieve success. We look forward to hearing from you.

From Observation to Innovation,

Andi Simon, Ph.D. Corporate Anthropologist

Andi Simon, Ph.D.
Corporate Anthropologist | President
Simon Associates Management Consultants

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