Go Beyond Anecdotes

Anecdotal answers pervade the landscape of leadership. A trip to the local bookstore will reveal rows and rows of leadership development books based on someone’s experiential success they are sure will assist the reader in duplicating the same success. What many of these leadership experts seem to neglect on some level, and some neglect completely, is the inclusion of solid data that acts as validation to the success claims found within the pages.

Data has proven its value in virtually every sector of organizational life despite its varying degrees of use in a given sector. The social challenge facing data usage is the value of traditional narrative publications and widespread preference for narrative rather than data streams (Mons et al., 2011). The key is to use data to create a narrative that is capturing for people, enlightening enough to motivate people, and informative enough to guide wiser decisions (Mons et al., 2010). In order to accomplish this, a quality source of data must be available and used.

The International Futures of Global Forecasting (IFs) curates multiple sources of data that allows organizational leaders to peer into the possibilities of the future and develop a narrative scenario that can inform present decisions and future policies. The IFs model does have some flaws such as some information sources that need updating as well as vital social data that is completely absent such as the effects of religious behaviors and actions of faith (University of Denver, 2016). Despite these imperfections, the IFs model is highly valuable and incredibly informative for forecasting of global futures.

Narrative is a highly important tool for leaders to possess, but without solid data to help construct those narratives, leaders may be leading with rose-colored blinders on.


Mons, B., van Haagen, H., Chichester, C., ’t Hoen, P.-B., den Dunnen, J. T., van Ommen, G., … Schultes, E. (2011). The value of data. Nature Genetics; New York, 43(4), 281–3.

University of Denver. (n.d.). Frederick S. Pardee Center for Interntional Studies. Retrieved from http://www.pardee.du.edu

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