Virtues of Web Analytics: Humility

Since we all can’t be up to date on everything all the time, there is huge benefit in listening to alternative perspectives to your own.

As with any field, analytics has a set of characteristics that can help a person develop into an increasingly better version of themselves. While these characteristics overlap with “virtues” you’ll see in other contexts, these posts are meant to highlight their specific relationship to professional development in this career field.

There seem to be 2 extremes that are too easy to fall into–the first being a self-deprecating beginner sort of mindset where one is unsure about everything and constantly second-guessing solutions, and the other being an overly self-assured mindset, either from lots of experience or a confident beginner who isn’t yet aware of the complexities of the field (for more on this, see the Dunning-Kruger effect). With sufficiently diverse experience, it’s easy to feel that you’ve “seen it all.” In many cases, you have seen a good slice of things, but you haven’t worked on every aspect of an implementation every day – that is simply not possible. No matter what your level of experience, the web analytics stack that surrounds you is constantly evolving, and it’s possible to lose sight of some of the basics or certain aspects of a platform as you narrow your focus for various projects.

This necessitates walking a line where you can be confident in your recommendations, yet open to new information and listening to differing opinions. Since we all can’t be up to date on everything all the time, there is huge benefit in listening to alternative perspectives to your own. That doesn’t mean they’re automatically valid, but allowing the space for them to be aired is supremely valuable, not least of all because it allows you to hone your active listening skills and refine how you can eloquently navigate a set of varied opinions to arrive at a definite project plan.

This can be a hard one to find where the line is, and there are bound to be some times when you veer a bit far to one side or the other of the overconfidence/humility line, but the process of figuring this out is key to continued personal progress. I certainly don’t have everything figured out, but I’ve seen this come up as a recurring theme that can have a big impact. Onward and upward!

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