Riding bad data to lousy decisions
Business, government, and military leaders can learn much from the Coronavirus pandemic. It’s an important opportunity because so much of the related information and informed decisions are driven by data. And we often lend automatic credibility to information and decisions based on data. It’s reasonable in many instances, but not always.
I spent many years collecting and managing data, and performing data quality assessments and audits. My clients included private companies and agencies across the Federal government. It’s astonishing how many consequential decisions are based on very bad data. Competitive strategies, programs, and policies are often influenced by data so flawed as to be useless. Even when the data is good enough, the implications extracted from the data can be off base, leading decision-makers to make bad decisions with confidence.
I’ll share in my next post insights on data-driven pronouncements on the Coronavirus. My objective is not to criticize, but to encourage thoughtful consideration instead of blanket acceptance. This is exactly what executives should do when they are presented with data-driven conclusions and recommendations. The Corona crisis offers a good opportunity to practice these indispensable skills.