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Friday, July 1, 2011

How Would Jesus Do Data Governance (Part 3)

Having tried the preaching route, attracting big crowds, name recognition and a following, (are you with me?) Jesus recognized that the results he came to provide were not being realized. People listened, cheered and went home to the same life they were living before. Anyone who has been involved in the data industry for any length of time will immediately recognize this situation.

Data-driven development, Data Administration, Information Engineering, Data Architecture, Data Quality, Data Management, Data Governance... Cheering followed by more of the same.

What now? Even if you are God and are omnipotent, you still have to get humans to change in order to bring them to the new world--one in which they can rely on one another and in which each acts in light of a defining principle and for the greater good. How long have you been a human? I have more than 60 years of experience in being and being with humans. Jesus was obviously smarter than I. He realized after only 30 years that preaching and teaching just wasn't going to work--even though the Ideal was attractive and clearly in the best interests of all. He was getting, "Well, even if..." and "But everyone would have to buy in..." and "That's not how we understand the policies..."

Maybe this is what you're hearing as well. Maybe you are beset on all sides by scribes and pharisees, nit-pickers and policy wonks. Maybe they are constantly trying to trap you in a bit of heresy or a policy violation. Maybe you've thought about giving up because for some reason the people would rather listen to them than to you.

What did Jesus do? He changed his emphasis from preacher/teacher to minister. He modeled the changes he was talking about and he did it consistently with each and every person he met, meeting each one where they were. He showed them that the past was irrelevant and the future was not a given. He gave them the present and they experienced for themselves that their lives were better.

He did not give them rules, instead he gave them hope and someone to come to. He gave them someone who understood them and who showed them how, by subtly changing their perception, they could obtain victory over the troubles that plagued their lives. He never showed them judgment or condemnation. He always cared about their welfare and he planted seeds of change.

He gave himself for the people long before he gave his life for them.

If you believe that better policies, better standards, better rules, better laws will force people to care about data, I'd like to help you and I hope that I may already have helped you by planting this seed. Sitting in an ivory tower and sending out criers to inform the people of the duke's latest whim will never (as in NEVER) be productive. Maybe you'll think about giving up some day and you'll remember this seed.