We shouldn’t take the view that we need a single narrative that unifies our experiences. Rather, we should carry multiple narratives simultaneously, continuously updating our estimates of the contours of each and our assessments of which is most likely to be right as new data points become available. Need to understand why your company is successful? Entertain the possibility that you’ve just been lucky, as well as that it is the fruit of your carefully constructed and diligently executed strategy. Think about what sorts of future events would lend more credence to one explanation over the other, and interpret what happens through both lenses. Never fully abandon either narrative, and be willing to entertain new ones.
In short, data never speaks for itself, and our intuitions will always unwittingly deceive us. The best hope I can offer for a path to purposeful action based on a meaningful approximation of the truth is to abandon the pointless quest for a single version of it.
Author: Michael E. Raynor
Source: The Conference Board Review
Subjects: Knowledge, Wisdom