The most important argument

Michael Schrage, research fellow and faculty member at MIT’s Sloan School of Executive Education asks:  What is the most important argument your organization is having now?

Organizations that are paying attention to external influences, changing conditions, new opportunities and internal metrics are trying to think of ways to change, to grow, to get better.  And organizational debate is part of that process.

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Last week I was on an uncomfortable conference call.  One party on the call inquired about being able to quantify the benefit of pursuing a particular project effort.  The truth is, in order to measure actual uplift, we would need to modify our approach in one or two business areas.  In order to modify our approach, we would need to have sufficient motivation that our current performance is weak and could be easily remedied.  We’d need some solid facts.


But I digress.  Sort of.

I was reading this article from Juice Analytics.  They indicated that one of the hallmarks of a data fluent culture was the ongoing practice of asking questions, inspired by examining data.  This is so aligned with the kind of culture that Michael Schrage discusses. Read more about that here.

Examining data touches my job.  It touches all of our jobs.  Our jobs are to measure, to verify, to inform, to recommend.


Back to the conference call.  It’s hard to draw a straight line from an idea to a possible (optimistic) outcome.  However, the conversation made me realize there are some things I could be doing a lot better in my job to keep my organization informed.  I could openly communicate more information about our donor segments, striving for as much data transparency as possible.  I could pose more questions to our constituent data, and deliberately search for opportunities for improvement.  I could fearlessly make recommendations from my unbiased position based on my own analysis.


I’d like to hear your thoughts about keeping your organizations informed.  Or about establishing a culture of data fluency and important arguments.


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