I was with a client a few weeks ago and he had a picture on his wall that said ‘Data Wins Arguments’. We talked about why he had it there as a reminder and he shared stories about how many times people try to convince him or his management team to do something without any supporting data or arguments. I was in full agreement.
I can often be heard saying ‘Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story’. This might be construed as the opposite of the point above about creating data. For me, both are necessary. Powerful stories sway opinion. They create emotion and connection. They align people. They win arguments. If you have to choose between story and data – choose the story. And learn to tell it well. But, a story that is supported by data, facts, insights and observations is by far the most powerful weapon you can bring to bear.
At the very heart of VFQ sits a Discovery Mindset and the essential practice of Experimentation. The reason? It forces you to be explicit about assumptions, tests and how you will know whether your idea or solution is right. It forces you to create data. It allows you to be critical about your own ideas and structure stories and arguments.
Is there something you’re currently working on that you need to ‘sell’ to others? What data do you have to support your argument? What data exists that might disprove your idea? Try to weave it together to create a compelling story.