I had an interesting conversation recently with a buddy about data and its intrinsic value. My position was that other than the need to have the data for future needs, data has no value in and of itself – it is only when we use data to form information do we derive any value from it. One can’t even determine if the data is good or bad until it is analyzed.
To me – the process of turning data into actionable information is the hard part…collecting it is easy by comparison. That’s not to say that the skill involved in asking the right questions is trivial – in fact, it should be considered an art form. Being able to think through HOW people would answer a question and then what that answer will mean is not for the faint of heart.
In fact, ask any Life Coach and they will tell you that asking the right question at the right time is the difference for their business. But the work doesn’t stop when the question has been asked – the real benefits come in analyzing the answers. What does it mean and how can I glean meaningful, actionable and relevant information from what I get back?
One more thing I would be remiss if I didn’t include – listening. Regardless of who you are talking to – they are feeding you data. From the words they use to the way they are using their hands to the facial expressions – much can be gleaned about the “message” you are getting if you will simply listen and be willing to process that data. Listening is the way we capture the data and the degree to which we are willing to intentionally listen will determine how much data we are able to possess.