Do You Have an Impact Culture? Via Social Impact Architects

I just love the ancient parable about the elephant. Six blind men were asked to describe an elephant by touching its body parts. The first man felt its side and described the elephant as a wall, the second man touched its tusk and thought it was a spear, the third man felt its trunk and was confident it was a snake, the fourth touched the knee and believed it was a tree, the fifth felt the ear and thought it was a fan and, finally, the sixth held the tail and assumed the elephant was a rope. None of the blind men was wrong in his analysis because each was perfectly describing the body part he touched and felt.

The problem came from their limited perception – they believed that they understood the situation, which led each of them to a mistaken conclusion. They missed the big picture – they were petting an elephant! The same applies to making data-driven decisions. When we have limited data and information, we don’t get the whole picture. And, the same is true in reverse – often when you get the big picture, you miss out on all the parts that go into its creation.

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