Data will not give you a vision of the future. It can only tell you what has happening – even real-time data immediately becomes history. Data cannot help you make leaps forward.

Data also has blind spots – things it cannot see or measure. Sometimes you know about these blind spots and sometimes you don’t. When you don’t know about a blind spot then you might come to the wrong conclusions because you are trying to make logical connections that don’t exist. These false connections are worse than no data because they can send you down the wrong path with confidence that you are going down the right one. That confidence means that it is unlikely that you will question your decision when you meet resistance.

As with everything else we experience, our perception of data is filtered through our biases and our view of the world. “Objective data” quickly becomes subjective as you apply your interpretation. You may not even notice that you’ve transformed the data from fact into fiction.

Data is not inherently good or bad. It has limitations which we must be aware of and remind ourselves of regularly. Data should inform, not guide, our decision making.