Personal & Leadership Skill: Collect, Organise, Analyse and Critically Evaluate InformationRegardless of the position we hold at work, we all deal with information daily. A massive amount of information is passed back and forward on a moment by moment basis. Information and its assimilation is big business. If you are in business, if you work or even as a student, you will constantly deal with this skill. Efficiently collecting, organising, analysing and critically evaluating information can mean the difference of starting a new trend in your industry or being a tail-end trend follower.
This skill can be divided up into a five step process: Defining the reason for the information, collecting the information, organising it into some logical format, analysing, and lastly critically evaluating the information.
1. The Reason:The process starts with “Why?” Why do you want the information, what do you want to know? What are you going to do with the information? It may be as simple as: how many guests are coming to the dinner party? Or it may be as complex as: How much fuel will it take to get the craft to Mars, and how will that fuel weight affect the trajectory of that craft?
Did you notice each statement in the above paragraph contained at least one question? Information is a usually a response to a question. The reason for your information will determine what questions are asked, how they are asked and to whom they are directed.
2. The Collection:
Once you have established “why” you want the information, you set about collecting it. Collection could take various forms such as: a conversation, a discussion group, a questionnaire, a survey, a telephone call, an on-line form, etc.
The reason for your information will determine who you direct your questions to, and what questions should be asked.
Avoid leading questions during this process. What is a leading question? This is a great article, isn’t it? This question led you to the point where you focused your attention on the quality of this specific article. If I wanted to know which article was your favourite, this type of question may distort the data results providing me with a false sense of the value of this article.
The first step in making sense of the information collected is arranging it correctly. Accuracy and grouping of data determine the quality of the analyses. The person responsible for this often tedious and seemingly unending task should be patient and meticulous.
4. Analysing :Analysing information talks to the skill and ability to take data and turn it into a relatable and meaningful story. This is a highly sought skill and companies are willing to pay handsomely for this ability. Even though it is a high demand skill, it is also relevant to our everyday living that holds the potential to help us create meaning in our existence.
The quality of the analyses is determined by how accurately we can identify the root cause to our issue or problem. Speed is always a bonus, but the emphasis is definitely on the accuracy of the solution.
5. Critically Evaluating:Critical Evaluation speaks to the ability to make decision on the basis of the information provided. Decision making is a crucial skill, not only for leaders and business, but in the personal lives of every person on the planet. We need to be able to make decisions that can bring swift and cost effective resolution and closure to the process.
People will often say that data collection is not their forte, and bluntly dismiss this skill as a “specialised” ability that should be saved for the gifted few. Nothing could be further from the truth. This skill is important to everyone and relevant to every job level, from sweeper to CEO.The task is often left to entry level staff to complete as it is often regarded as time consuming and menial. Like a gymnastic display, watching a beginner is not nearly as entertaining or as inspiring as watching an Olympic athlete. Be the Olympic athlete.
Read Article the on the 8 skills to keep you relevant in a rapid changing world