A Reminder that Data Denial Doesn’t Work

I recently gained 35 pounds without realizing it.

Scratch that. I realized that my clothes didn’t fit and I felt like I was dressed up in someone else’s body. 

But I didn’t actually know the extent of the situation, because for about two years, I resolutely refused to step on a scale.  “I’m better off not knowing,” I told myself, but of course, that wasn’t true.

The Power of Knowing

What’s ironic about this data denial of mine is that it’s exactly what I tell my clients not to do. When clients are hesitant to conduct research because they don’t want bad news, I give them advice like:

“Even if the news isn’t what you want to hear, wouldn’t you rather know so you fix things?”

“If people aren’t thrilled about this product, don’t you want to figure that out NOW, before you lose any more money on it?”

It’s logical,right? Keep track of your performance. Monitor key metrics. Understand what works -and what doesn’t- so you can adjust accordingly. 

And yet, we aren’t always persuaded by logic. We humans are emotional creatures, guided in our decision-making by a complex web of influences — in fact, my research often helps clients illuminate the web of influences that motivate a particular audience most.  

Shed the Weight of Not Knowing

The truth is, on a purely emotional level, it can feel a lot safer to to remain ignorant. The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t — right? Well, not really, no. The longer a problem festers, the more difficult it becomes to solve. The more it weighs.

Believe me, I understand the temptation to look the other way. But I’m here to tell you, both as an experienced research practitioner, and as someone who’s been able to lose most of the weight I gained (phew!), that confronting data drives better outcomes — period.

Are you avoiding your business’ data? Let me help you gather the right data and make sense of it in ways that drive your business forward. 

Photo by Justin Grimes

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