Follow the Data – At Work; for your Health – Follow the Data!

facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis.

Big Data:
extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions.

Small Data:
Small data is data in a volume and format that makes it accessible, informative and actionable. Small data typically provides information that answers a specific question or addresses a specific problem.


I have a simple suggestion. Follow the data.follow the data

Recently, I spent some time with a man I have known for a few years. And, in the last few months, he has lost 80 pounds. Yes, you read that correctly – 80 pounds! And, in my recollection, he had never looked overweight. (He is a tall man).

He has been promoted, time and again, in his organization. He is a true techie expert, with plenty of other marketable skills. In other words, his opinion is a valuable opinion, worth seeking. I obviously asked him two questions: how did he lose the weight?, and, why did he lost the weight? It was his answer to the second question that grabbed me. He said something like this:

“I look at data in everything I do at work. I finally decided to look at the data for personal health. And the data is clear – weighing less, near the lower end of the healthy scale, is best for one’s health.”

In other words, he followed the data.

Now, there are plenty of issues where we simply do not yet have enough data. But, in areas where we do have enough data, isn’t it foolish to not follow the data? Can’t we do better, accomplish more, get more done, make more progress by learning what truly works, what is truly better, and following that data?

So, maybe it is time to take a serious data inventory?

  • How’s your health? Your weight? Your strength? Where does the data say you should be?
  • How effective are your teams at work? Do they work well together? Do they actually get their work done, in a truly effective way? (Note: there is plenty of data about what makes a team effective in the Charles Duhigg book, Smarter, Faster, Better).

You can quickly come up with other work issues? What does the data say about the practices of good leaders? Of effective marketing? Of the effectiveness of providing personal coaching? Of the effectiveness of “after action reviews?” There is so much good data; The list is long, and growing…

It seems to me that this is the formula:

Step #1 — know the data, or, get the data
Step #2 — analyze the data
Step #3 — follow the data

Without Step #3, “follow the data,” steps #s 1 & 2 are close to worthless.

I think of so many areas of my work for which I do not even know the data, much less follow it. I do too much by following my “gut.” And, the data is in – following your gut is not as effective as following the data.

So, I have got some data research, and data following to do. What about you?


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