"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless."
Mother Teresa

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Leadership Notes -- Thoughts on Leading People and Making a Difference in Organizations

Word count this issue: 353

Estimated reading time:  2.0 minutes


Greetings from a rainy Toronto. I’m working with a group of leaders from the Salvation Army, and we’re having fun working hard. During a workout here I was listening to a couple of great podcasts from the CBC, and Nora Young’s show Spark http://www.cbc.ca/radio/spark/312-growth-and-the-start-up-economy-twitter-bot-art-and-more-1.3471294/would-you-trust-a-robot-in-an-emergency-1.3475216 , http://www.cbc.ca/radio/spark/312-growth-and-the-start-up-economy-twitter-bot-art-and-more-1.3471294/how-to-empower-patients-with-medical-data-1.3471340 


One of the questions explored is the difference between data and information. Data are the facts, the 1’s and 0’s of life, information is the data interpreted, the various meanings derived from the 1’s and 0’s. This is an important distinction because of the huge number of possible meanings derived from particular streams of data. As leaders in organizations we need to ensure that we are not only exploring data, but more importantly, exploring the information. Our brains are wired to remember small amounts of data, but we can remember information and meaning in much greater amounts and over longer periods of time.


Here are three ways to ensure that people are focused on information, not just data:


  1. Tell stories about the data, explore questions about what it means for us, and what it means for individuals and their jobs.
  2. When sending out information to a large group, use people’s supervisors (ensuring they have bought in and are on message), to carry the message, as people will usually trust their immediate supervisor over senior management.
  3. Ask questions about impact and meaning for other people? Remember there will be various meanings attached to the data, and it is important to know about where alternative streams of information may be interfering with your message.


In the midst of a data filled world, may this week give us each new perspectives on information.