In an Environment of Information Overload, Ensuring You Focus on the Right Information Is Critical

During the holiday break, our family had to get tested for COVID. We got at-home tests, as they were available, and it was easier than having to wait in line at a testing center. This got me thinking of a recent article in the New York Times, which raises the notion that experts are questioning the importance/value of measuring COVID caseloads with the rise in the use of at home tests.

If more people take tests at home, then the reporting of tests and the positivity rate, which are critical to helping us make informed decisions, is inaccurate. What is the outcome of this? Confusion – confusion with not only the public but with public health officials. They are scrambling to develop new approaches to the situation now that one of the core approaches and metrics may no longer be viable. This constant scramble to keep pace with the changes has led to a lot of changing recommendations very quickly, which, when issued chaotically or with conflictual advice, can frustrate the public and cause them to stop listening.

Don’t get me wrong. As we gain more data about a situation, we should absolutely reassess and update our processes and recommendations. This is a critical component of data literacy. In today’s world, we need to be both agile to stay current and also scalable to all our stakeholders. The way data and its story are communicated is critical. It can be hard to process everything, and some people just end up either not trusting the data or the recommendations.

This is the same story repeated over and over across all industries. Most organizations recognize the trend toward including data in their decision-making process. However, few leaders fully understand and grasp how to use that data to tell a meaningful story that resonates with their stakeholders, and, more importantly, how that story can help drive the right actions. The average employee is facing the same challenge we are all facing with COVID currently. They are bombarded with so much information that it becomes hard to process it all, make sense of it, understand what is relevant and what is not, and hopefully make better decisions with it.

Rather than finding clear answers to questions, we are often presented with too much information to be truly data-informed in our decisions. Becoming data literate enables you to separate the wheat from the chaff, distinguish between signals and noise, as well as anticipate and evaluate incoming and current realities, particularly when they are in flux, when uncertainties supervene to prevent accurate business forecasts and when workforces feel pulled omnidirectionally, as data seems to exist to support nearly any decision. Data literacy gives strong, credible direction and provides the expertise we need to stay ahead of the game – even when the game seems to keep changing under our feet.

From free online learning modules for employees, to leadership training, to enterprise benchmarks and scalable education programs, Qlik has proven, turnkey offerings to help you increase your data literacy.

"The way #data and its story are communicated is critical. It can be hard to process everything, and some people just end up either not trusting the data or the recommendations," notes @Qlik's @KevinHanegan

 

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