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Some Data Can't Be Calculated

Updated: Apr 30, 2022

One of the hardest things about being a manager is being able to make decisions when you don't have all the information. Data contributes to this problem. Managers need to understand that data is never complete. Best case scenario is that you don't have enough data.

Worst case: you can never get the data.

Some data simply cannot be calculated. When you make a decision to raise prices, you should be able to estimate how many customers you may lose and may even have data about which you feel confident. However, you can't measure the impact it will have on the relationship with the customers that stay. Those that stay may not be as loyal to the product anymore. There is almost no way to accurately calculate it.

Another great example. You may decide to terminate an employee. You can do all the calculations about lost productivity, costs for severance, etc. However, you can't calculate how the rest of the team will react. Will they feel happy that they weren't let go, will they feel guilty that they survived, will they be angry because they think you made the wrong decision?

These are all things you can't know ahead of time. You can't even measure it afterwards. You have to be attuned to everyone's feelings as best you can.

This doesn't mean you don't make the decision until you can figure out a way to calculate the data. It means you have to make the decision with the knowledge that there may be unintended consequences and then be aware of things afterwards so you can identify those consequences quickly.

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