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Present Sense: A Practical Guide to the Science of Measuring Performance and the Art of Communicating it with the Brain in Mind

By Dr Steve Morlidge

‘Steve Morlidge has the mind to see traditional practice from different angles drawing out weaknesses others are blind to. His imaginative thinking brings new solutions to his discipline. This is essential reading for the modern information professional.’ Professor Tim Stewart: Vice-Chancellor and CEO, BPP University, London

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 “Present Sense” is a great follow-up to “Future Ready”. Once again, the systemic problems of traditional management practices are ruthlessly exposed, and as always Steve provides practical and tested advice and guidance better alternatives. Highly readable and highly recommended.” Bjarte Bogsnes: Senior Advisor Performance Framework, Equinor



‘This book is different from other literature about data analysis and reporting. It’s not about hyping the new big data era and fancy tools. It’s about how to analyse and present the data in order to make sense of it.’ Olivier Fernandez: Head of Financial Planning & Analysis, SIG Combibloc


‘A book that everyone with a serious interest in performance management, decision making or simply human nature needs to read.

Steve has looked to answer the existential questions of anyone who has led a business, managed a budget or searched for a competitive edge in business data.’ Chris Argent : Founder and CEO of Generation CFO



In this book Steve Morlidge shows how the traditional methods of performance reporting fail, and what we need to do differently to help us make sense of our dynamic, complex and data rich world and to effectively communicate these insights to an audience of decision makers. He argues that organisations cannot be managed as if they were a simple mechanical system operating in a predictable environment. And that the variance analyses and data tables typically used to measure and communicate performance are completely inadequate. 

Performance reporting should not be a routine, mechanistic process. It should be treated as an act of perception performed to help the organization to assess whether and where intervention is needed to improve its performance, informed by the successful strategies used by the brain to make sense of its own super abundant sensory inputs. In order to make sense of the vast amounts of data available to organizations and to communicate the meaning effectively to decision makers, we need to learn to use approaches that exploit the strengths of our own brains and compensate for its weaknesses.


From this provocative yet practical book, readers will learn:


  •  About what the latest insights of cognitive science tell us about how to derive meaning from potentially overwhelmingly large data sets.
  • Why it is important to bring a dynamic perspective into performance reporting, and how it can be done.
  • To use simple tools that help isolate the signal in noise infected data and to make sound inferences.
  • The intelligent way to use goals to guide and assess performance.
  • The grammar of data visualization and how it can be used to design powerful ‘brain friendly’ reports. 


The ultimate aim of information professionals should be to create the shared consciousness that enables their organizations to quickly respond and adapt to their environments.

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