By Rick Nelson, TAG Co-Founder and Chairman of Launch Consulting

Politics, religion, and _________?

When I was young my father taught me that the two topics sure to cause strain on relationships and conflict when discussed were Politics and Religion.

That has proven to be correct – especially in 2020!

I’ve taught my children the same — but it’s time to add another topic to that list: Data Interpretation. That’s right the new third rail in conversation or discussion is data-driven analysis. It can be an area that is charged and fraught with risk.

What was once thought to cure to all our ills, the indisputable way to make any decision, has become the inflection point for argument, debate and consternation.  And for good reason:

1.       All data is not created equal

2.       Analysis is subject to human bias

3.       Dissemination of the data is easily skewed.

And then we:

      •  rarely have access to all the inputs

      • source check (if we do) from places that support our bias

      • treat the things we hear (and approve of)  as if they are absolute

No silver bullet here. My suggestions:

1.      Ask questions with integrity

2.      Think of every issue from the side that makes you uncomfortable

3.      Research the topic together and aim to learn something new

Can you share thoughts on how to open the dialogue when observations of the same data conflict with yours?

Please send me a note at

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