This a great opinion piece:
Three Things To Remember When Data Findings Are Difficult To See
“Two interesting things inevitably happen when an organization becomes audience-centric and data-informed:
First, happily, an organization starts to get an accurate grasp on the things they do well. As a sector, some of our superpowers include securing public trust, providing academic advantages for children, and creating meaningful moments of connection. This information can result in a terrific boost!
Second, less happily, an organization realizes what they haven’t been doing so well. Helpful data shines a light on so-called effective strategies that have actually been hurting the organization long-term – sometimes for years! Being shown with numbers that you’ve been making some bad guesses? That can be empowering, enlightening, invigorating…and very uncomfortable.
One of the biggest hold ups for evolution of organizations can be the defenses that arise when data suggests that – for years – an organization has been doing something “wrong.” In some cases, these problems are instinctual, ill-informed “best practices” within the industry (such as misunderstanding how discounting really impacts visitation, or thinking expensive building expansions permanently increase attendance, to name just a couple). In other cases, they’re the result of individual cognitive biases among leaders.
One of the most difficult situations an organization may face in the journey to become a data-driven entity is when findings suggest that the solutions that leaders championed for years may be causing more harm than good – and you’re a leader who championed them. To make matters worse, the cut-and-dry nature of charts can make findings feel less like opportunities for growth, and more like personal attacks.”