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The tragedy of anti-data leadership and dataphobia

Posted by James Standen on 1/07/10 • Categorized as Data Quality, Reality Check, data culture

There has been a lot of discussion in the last year or so about how important data analysis is becoming.

IBM made a major move into data analytics by establishing a new organisation "Business Analytics & Optimization Services" with 4000 people in it.

There was the much quoted Hal Varian of Google who predicted that the sexy new job this century will be some sort of data analyst/statistician.

But I believe there is a powerful force in many businesses that will slow down our headlong rush towards a fact based, analytical thinking, data quality focused future.

As a group they are generally referred to as "Upper management" or "Leadership".the-data-days-no-the-ceo-says-yes

Now to be fair, there are obviously great leaders and executives that understand that data is important.

But the fact that making decisions based on facts and data is actually defined as school of thought- "Fact based management" or "Evidence based management", or in the medical area its called "evidence based medicine" illustrates that too many alternatives still exist.
The lies and dirty tricks of anti-data leadership

They make comments that equate analysis with "delay".
They confuse considering options with "indecisiveness".
They don't invite people who actually have seen or understand the data to their meetings.

They come up with all sorts of alternate ways to make decisions- and defend their position even when the data clearly does not support them:
Call it strategic

I know the numbers don't add up right now, but this is strategic.

What does that mean- our strategy is to do things without ROI?

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