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How well does your organization understand and use data?

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 210,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

How well does your organization understand and use data?

  • Very — we are effective at generating data-based insights: 29%
  • Kind of — we generate insights but it takes some effort: 41%
  • Not very — we tend to get sucked into analysis paralysis: 19%
  • Not at all — we’re overwhelmed by data without insights: 11%

Data versus Information. There’s no shortage of data out there but insights are at a premium. If you want to wade through that sea of data more quickly and effectively, take a hypothesis-driven approach. Before you crunch numbers, identify what it is you’re trying to prove or disprove. Doing so will help you focus your analytical efforts and sidestep distractions. Beware of confirmation bias – only looking at data that confirm your hypothesis – because it can cause you to miss the real insight. You’ll be more efficient and effective if you take a hypothesis-driven approach to data versus blind number crunching.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS, author of “Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results” and “One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership.”