S:0603 Principle: Correctly Interpreting Data

(Principles are basic truths that, when applied, cause success to come to you easier and quicker.)


There is the old story of the unsophisticated young man who was the first in his family to attend college. In a basic science course he was given the assignment to measure and interpret data using a grasshopper. First, he yelled “Jump!” at the grasshopper and measured how far the creature traveled. He then removed two of it’s six legs and again yelled “Jump!” measuring the resulting shorter distance. After removing two more of the legs and commanding “Jump” he measured an even shorter distance. After removing the grasshopper’s final two legs and yelling “Jump!” wrote down the data that the creature didn’t jump at all.

For his interpretation of the experiment’s data he wrote “Grasshopper’s without leg’s can’t hear.”

Seeing data is one thing, interpreting it correctly is another. Incorrect interpretation is nearly always a result of not seeing, or not wanting to see, all of the data. It’s easy to jump to a conclusion and then expect, and see, data support it, even if a third party can clearly see it’s incorrect.


Coaching Point: Who do you know that is incorrectly interpreting data right now; you can see it, but they can’t? Where are you doing the same thing?


Copyright 2007 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.