How often to do we continue business as usual without stepping out of the universe we have created for ourselves? Think about that for a second. When we live in a universe that confirms our viewpoints, our decisions, and our (albeit humble us!) amazing leadership, what’s not to love? 😊

Hold that thought…….

Here’s what we really deal with. We are often charged with leading or managing in organizations that are understaffed, underfunded, and under-resourced. We hold on tight to the scarce resources we have been given, make do with what we can, and hope for the best. We  depend on the environment we’ve created for ourselves – the one that validates the decisions we make and the approaches we use.

Is this reality or the reality we created? “What are we missing” is not a question that we often ask. We rely on hard data. Quantifiable numbers are easy to track. Metrics are simple to gauge. We know the rules of debate where this data is concerned. There are statistical models and mathematical principles that guide us. But when it comes to the soft data our power of analysis is diminished.  We don’t have the same axioms to keep us honest. And we fall prey to, well, being human.

Soft data, the data we observe from the behavior of others, is more difficult to assess.  We believe we are seeing what we see, but we are seeing what our bias allows us we see. Meanwhile, across our organization, our colleagues are doing the same thing, with their own preferences for reality and their own sense of rightness.  Where is the mathematical transitive property of equality when we need it? Life would be so much easier!

So, how to we achieve performance improvement where soft data is concerned. Simple. Start with participation and collaboration. The more we expand the viewpoints and interpretations of the universe we work in, the more informed and the better our decisions will be. We might also move from asking the question “what are we missing?” to asking, “what and who are we missing?” Expand the people you know in your organization, be proactive and reach out, be the first to share your hoarded information, and be the catalyst that moves your organization forward.

Networking is one of those oft-used business phrases, but it stands as a way to establish an exchange of information, a path to develop relationships, and a mechanism to expand the number of people with whom we consult when we are seeking that additional data. But to build those relationships, you have to be the one that starts in order to be the one who receives. Start the conversation, start the sharing of information, start the connection, and start to include those not obvious to include. Guaranteed you will gain insights and perspectives that enrich and make that soft data so impactful.

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