Data is a clever seductress and those who are fixated by it often hide behind phrases like “What gets measured gets done.” That may or may not be true. What is certain is that a leader who merely cognitively connects with numbers on a page or dots on a graph can never fully grasp the truth behind that detail. At best, the data tell half a story and, at worst, become a dangerous weapon in the leader’s hands. It is only through emotional connectedness with the dots and the digits that the whole tale can be told and the data understood. Behind every dot and digit is a story of triumph over adversity, heroic failure or missed opportunity.
The last line here was particularly impactful to me.
This blog has mentioned story telling with data, and shared from the infographics world that there appear to be multiple views on that topic. In education in particular (or perhaps because that is my focus), the story telling seems particularly important — when we live in a world talking about teacher quality, teacher effectiveness, the placement of students, first-pass instruction and RTI, for example. Behind every piece of data in a school district, there is the FACE of a student who is working on becoming a learner.