OK…be honest…have you ever found yourself putting a presentation together and realizing that there is a set of data that weakens your argument, so you eliminate that slide from your presentation? Or maybe there’s a troublesome chart that shows too big of a drop in an important trend so you change the scale on the left side so that the drop doesn’t look quite as large visually! Ever done those things ☺? Let’s face it; all of us want to put our best foot forward.
Stepping back, it’s very hard for human beings to face the facts when certain things might not be going in the direction they would like. In such circumstances, humans will often bias data by attempting to show certain things and not others or to show part of the data but not all.
Looking at it from a different perspective, if you have people working for you who constantly do this, you eventually realize you’re being deceived. Their credibility weakens.
So what is the message for you, and those who report to you? Present the positives and negatives as clearly and succinctly as is possible. Constantly remind yourself and your people that you are seeking truth. You will quickly develop a reputation of being a high quality, unbiased analyst.
When you are in analysis mode, make sure you don’t mix it with being in sales mode. We all know those individuals who are always in the sales mode!
I’ll bet each of you have your favorite story regarding biased information!