How much can we trust our instincts anymore? Recently, I watched an interview with Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York. New York being the worst hit state in the US for COVID-19. In the interview, the Governor was asked, what’s his strategy for bringing New York out of lockdown. Cuomo replied…I don’t have one. He said it’s impossible to know, I’m just following the data and when the right data presents itself, we take one step forward. Cuomo is currently the highest approval of his career 77%. For the past 50 years, management theory has told us that leaders have to have strategy, vision and a plan.
So, does Cuomo mark a turning point in management theory, is it now ok for leaders to say I don’t know, to admit that they are “following the data”. Furthermore, if it’s okay for leaders to say that they are following the data, is it now okay for us minions to follow the data as well?
What do I mean? As an observer, I observe that a large portion of analytic work is not about discovery as it is about confirmation. A good analyst can coerce data into telling almost any story, that is, analysis is used to support instinct. Will analysts finally be free to create insights rather than confirm intuition?
Regan is a subject-matter expert in analytical database marketing and customer relationship marketing, as well as an in-demand presenter and keynote speaker at national and international events. He also authors thought leadership pieces on data-driven marketing that can be found on the DA Blog.