Numbers help shift beliefs.
Sometimes it happens instantly. Sometimes it takes longer.
At the very least, a powerful set of numbers can get us to explore the basic assumptions we hold. Is the world really the way we think it is?
Have a look at how the graphic in this post gets us to think. The data challenges what could be deep seated pre-conceptions and prejudices.
It’s easy to digest column format, visual imagery and typesetting help it grab our attention. And by making direct comparisons of things we tend to have near the front of our minds with things which we probably pay less attention to, it capitalises on the brain’s love of association. “You fear this thing ‘x’ but did you know that this thing ‘y’ is bigger!”
Could you produce an equivalent set of numbers for your organisation? The things your colleagues REALLY need to worry about. What do they believe are the big risks and which are the bigger ones they don’t seem to consider?
It’s not guaranteed that the graphic will persuade us to shift our anxieties, but it should make us pause to reflect. It may even get us asking more questions or starting a conversation on the topic.
That’s what good data does. It gets us talking.
And as people who work with numbers, people not talking about the ideas we have to share is what WE should really worry about.