“Soft” Data Is A B.S. Term

Soft data…..the first time I heard that term I thought, what are they talking about – how can data be ‘soft’? Or hard for that matter.

These are the basic common definitions. For some. And I think they’re a whole lot of BS. In fact, I know they are. Here’s why.

There ain’t no such thing as hard or soft in any data. Data is data. It’s be like saying, “this cake is hard and this other cake is soft.” Total nonsense. If the data is valuable don’t make it seem less important by attaching the term soft, which is inherently and conventionally interpreted as subordinate.

What kind of data can actually move the needle?

What kind of data can actually move the needle?

All data matter and in fact some data holds greater swag. Take qualitative insight for instance. Qualitative data is insight which helps us understand reasons, opinions, and context in which decisions are made. This information is incredibly important and necessary for us to move forward in life and business. It’s the why behind all our actions.

I’d hardly call it soft and therefore give the impression of it being subordinate in import. Quite the contrary.

The Why, as I call it, is the pinnacle of knowing how to move forward. Stats make me crazy. The only thing worse than stats are the people who wave them about like they’ve just found the meaning to life! Stats are dead. Stats are numbers which tell us what HAS been, not what can be. If we dwelled on the past, we’d be in a world of hurt…oh wait a minute, there’s still gobs of areas we still do…..

All data bears weight. All data has a certain validity in context to what you need to use it for. The insight of the Why, the qualitative – the reasons why we act and react – will always be more valuable than statistics ever can be. Stats will hold you back. You rest on previously documented laurels; they cannot move you ahead by looking behind. Insight like qualitative data moves us forward.

Soft data, my left earlobe. It’s the only stuff that really matters for progress.

Where The Heck Have All The “Thank You’s” Gone??

Typical transaction, happened to me yet *again* today:

I buy something in a store, I get to the end of the monetary transaction, I’m told to “have a great day!”

Where the hell is the “Thank You”?

“Thank” immediately followed by “you” are far and away the two most important words you can say to express gratitude to someone who is supporting you. Whether they are buying a widget off the shelf, a service for their business, giving them a recommendation and everything else. Thank you is the gold in them thar hills. It’s telling of people giving a damn.

When I don’t get a thank you, I say “You’re Welcome” regardless. It irks me this is not thought of, perpetuated and simply ignored as the two most important words in business.

When’s the last time you told someone thank you – for their business, for an insight, for a suggestions, for a complaint? Well managed complaints and returns, by the way, are some of the most powerful exchanges to build patronage, loyalty and return business. Yes, it’s a fact.

Think about it.

Make a Difference. Say "Thank you."

Make a Difference. Say “Thank you.”

When you last returned something, what kind of experiences did you have? Was it pleasant? Did you look forward to returning the item, either in person or online? Likely not. So if that person handled it with empathy, confidence and friendly professionalism it made an impression. Most likely an unexpected one at that!

I learned this when I was new to retail, in the retail hardware environment. My superiors, rightly so, taught me this message and I still strongly subscribe to it today. I do so because I know it works.

So bring that thank you home to roost: make sure you increase the phrase use by using it yourself, often, where appropriate and genuinely. Give a nudge to those who tell you to have a nice day – say “you’re welcome” with a smile on your face whether you hear thank you or not.

In a world gone made with speed, faster everything, and the false “connecting” via technology, the human interaction will still always be Queen.

The Challenge of a Personal Trainer

It recently hit me between the eyes. Well, perhaps between the two lobes is more like it.

Wow!! I finally understand what it’s like to be a personal trainer with a client who says they want to improve yet they don’t put the action where their mouth and dollars are.

I can help people who truly are ready. Ready means they will dig in, not always knowing where the net is – sometimes with no net – yet they dig in all the same. Together. They vest equally, they trust and then you trust more. It’s synergy being created.

Are you a coach or consultant?

Are you a coach or consultant?

Being unready is the doubt, the niggling “am I getting what I paid you for” that might be rolling around in heads or come out of mouths. When really the case is a lack of readiness.

As a consultant, I can be as ready as I can be. The rest is on the client. They don’t need, nor do I hire out to babysit, coddle and otherwise try to appease an unready client who didn’t prepare or think things through. I’m here to amplify, enhance, and improve my clients and their work. It’s a mélange of consulting and coaching, most certainly.

I’ve released two clients in the last several months because they simply didn’t do what they said they wanted to based on what they said – and agreed to – they’d do.

The challenge comes from within. If you are truly ready, if you’re ready to jump off the opportunity cliff together, then seek out, interview and hire the suitable consultants. And coaches (some are both).

  • Consultant: “Here’s what you want to/need to/should do. Hire me to do it.”
  • Coach: “Here’s what you want to/need to/should do. Let me guide you through it.”

For both the goal is instructed independence (Mike’s right).

Prepare yourself as a client as I prepare myself as a professional consultant. We all come out ahead, much better, smoother, and happier.

Eight Categories Of Work

My smart friend Karen tells me she has 8 categories of work:

  1. Writing
  2. Teaching
  3. Self
  4. Family
  5. Video
  6. Projects
  7. Recipe testing for clients
  8. Private classes

Karen and I got to know each other when I lived in Iowa (she still does) and we have stayed in touch since my move a few years back. I’ve had the great good fortune to even work for Karen a few times so we’ve been together in a variety of settings and situations.

Who helps you bloom and flourish?

Who helps you bloom and flourish?

One of the fantastic qualities Karen possesses is a constant examination of what is working and not working for her. I have the advantage of knowing this and then applying as this examination idea fits me and my life.

She and I talk regularly. As friends and business colleagues these are highly valuable times for both of us which we anticipate and plan month to month. Sharing ideas and getting her perspective and feedback is incredibly helpful, encouraging and enlightening, especially as a long time friend and cohort. Indeed, this is when the brain picking works: when the givers gain is mutual. We swap stories, share ideas, give each other business help & support, and are able to laugh about life. It makes us both better and stronger.

Who do you have in your life, now or desired, whom you can call on for similar relations? The relationships you build and foster, invest in and make time for are the ones which help us enjoy life, prosper and sleep well at night.

I’d encourage you to find your own Karen (I’ve actually got another remarkable Karen in my life too!). It’s more than worth it, all the ways around.