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Use data to retrain your gut feeling

Start using data to retrain yourself to interpret the signals you're capturing about your business

Sometimes I tell people that you need a data strategy when you can no longer trust your gut feeling about your business. You can feel like your initial intuition about how your organization is doing is failing. You no longer trust your gut feeling because there are too many moving parts and you cannot manage the complexity just by following your gut.

But you should not just ignore your gut feeling and dismiss it just because you cannot logically explain it. Your rational mind just isn't aware of all the observations and hunches that come together in this gut feeling. In her book Upheaval of thoughts, American contemporary philosopher Martha Nussbaum explores how emotions and ratio go hand in hand to come to the right decision: "Emotions involve judgements about important things. They are not just the fuel that powers the psychological mechanism of a reasoning creature, they are parts, highly complex and messy parts, of this creature's reasoning itself."

Use data to uncover why your gut feeling was no longer correct. Is it because you have taken a managing role and are too far from the execution of the core business? Or is it because the KPI's you are using are not capturing some important aspect of what's happening, creating a disconnect between the numbers and your feeling? Or are your people just stone-cold lying to you about how things are really going?

Start using data to get back on top. Not to get rid of your gut feeling but to retrain yourself to interpret the signals you're capturing about your business.

Is your gut feeling aligned with the numbers about your business?