Truth(s), Fiction, and Storytelling in Performance Improvement

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The consulting-oriented field of performance improvement is ideally based on a radically empirical foundation. We are supposed to be data driven and evidence based and to derive all of our processes and all of our advice to clients from empirical evidence (which can be either qualitative or quantitative) that allows us to make clear and distinct links from cause to effect. But much of the time we are simply unable to make conclusions based solely on actual performance data that unambiguously shows us a clear path for identifying gaps and effecting changes. In such a case, what is an earnest professional to do? The answer is, tell a story and change it as you go.