Data Data Everywhere…

but never stop to think.  I recently heard a Radio 4 presenter miss-quote Coleridge’s line and it got me thinking it was a good way of remembering one of the eight basic quality principles (usually quoted at number seven): factual based decision making.

There are two fundamental bases for decision making: facts or intuition, and the latter is often based on facts (although facts that may not always be obvious or recognisable as such).  Quality management systems are usually hoarders of data – facts about the organisation.  Even outwith the formal QMS, organisations collect data and only a fraction of it is used.  Some of it is unusable and one of the easiest ways to improve productivity and efficiency is to identify what is not used, nor need be used, and cut it out.  However, that still leaves much that is under-used.
Data – good data – is the life-blood of good management and needs to be identified and put in the hands (or minds/PCs) of managers.  And managers need to recognise the data available and seek it out to form the basis of their decision making processes.  That doesn’t mean swamping them, or using the lack of recognisable data as an excuse for delaying a necessary decision – there are always times when intuition is best because it is frequently our way of using data we don’t know we have.
Just remember Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner…
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