Argh. When a helpful example is kept confidential
No great thoughts today – the upcoming post on how not to restrict necessary feedback is drawing those for the moment.
Instead, an observation for those of us who use micro-narrative research for sensemaking and organisational culture. I’m engaged today in starting data exploration and visualisation for a client project. We’re running a big workshop with 100 leaders next week to make sense of the data and develop next actions, insights and organisational experiments.
First step today is the necessary, but slightly dull, task of going through the data and looking for all those stories that participants have requested stay confidential. (It’s a crucial element – giving people the chance to voice something meaningful, but in a way that helps them feel safe doing so. The signification meta-data is still viewable and helpful, even if we can never read the story.) It’s a mechanical process – go through the dataset and go back into the server to replace all story and title texts with “withheld for participant confidentiality”.
I try not to get drawn into the stories – avoiding the pattern-entrainment temptation of a good story in favour of the more independent approach of starting with data patterns. Inevitably, I catch a glimpse of the opening lines of a couple – and some of the stories are great. Both of problems and of successes: “I love working here because…”, “Someone needs to fix…”
And they’re confidential. So the client team will never see them.
Because it’s more important that people trust the tool and that when we say confidential, we mean it. Still. Great exemplars disappearing into the ether. Argh.