Understanding your data to make effective business decisions.

We are social creatures. Emotions tend to weigh heavier than facts when we calculate risk. This is useful in all manner of human situations, but not necessarily so when it comes to making objective business decisions.

An ability to compute the data we are presented with and make our own decisions is essential. There’s often a meaningful difference between actual numbers, proportions and frequencies; and inaccuracies in the data can swing how we view the results.

By accident or design, choosing how we present data can have a massive bearing on how we react.

In our everyday lives, we regularly face these kinds of numerical challenges. From the lure of the national lottery where the emotional pull of winning a life changing amount of money contradicts the rather low chances of that event happening, to the true overall cost of subscription products where small regular amounts quickly add up to much larger sums – our behaviours are swayed by the way numbers are presented to us.

In business, our working lives are surrounded by data but we’re not always equipped to get a handle on how to utilise this to make stronger decisions.

So how well does your business use the information is has and how well do your team understand their data?

Are your colleagues scared by spreadsheets? Or simply blind to what their numbers may be able to tell them?  

Do your team struggle to use data to make decisions? And do they get bamboozled by statistics?

Getting to grips with ratios, sampling, context, and accuracy may not be the stuff of dreams, but an increasingly essential skill for all of our working lives.

It's not just for finance professionals, building skills to notice patterns in your data can help your team to discern changes in customer behaviour, analyse what constitutes acceptable risk and evaluate the long-term impact of seemingly small decisions.

If your organisation would benefit from having a workforce that better understands what your data is hiding, maybe it’s time to consider equipping them to use data intelligently.