All Articles Leadership How do you typically generate recommendations?

How do you typically generate recommendations?

1 min read


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 210,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

How do you typically generate recommendations?

  • I start with the data and see what insights come out: 63%
  • I start with a hypothesis, then prove/disprove it with data: 37%

Step Away from the Data. While it may feel natural to start with data then look for insights, that approach is inefficient and often ineffective. It’s easy to get lost in the data and not have a clear sense for what recommendation you’re trying to make. That approach also leads to excessively complex presentations full of data but lacking clear insights. I’d suggest taking a hypothesis-driven approach. Think about what you’re trying to prove or disprove then look at the data objectively to make your case. You’ll be more focused in your efforts and your ultimate recommendation will be clearer and easier to understand.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS, author of  the upcoming book “The Elegant Pitch: Create a Compelling Recommendation, Build Broad Support, and Get it Approved” and “One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership.”