Synthesizing the situation through time
Ray Dalio, Co-Chief Investment Officer/Linked In
To see how the dots connect through time you must collect, analyze, and sort different types of information, which isn’t easy. For example, let’s imagine a day in which eight outcomes occur. Some good, some bad. Let’s illustrate this day as shown, with each type of event represented by a letter and the quality of the outcome represented by its height.
In order to see the day this way, you must categorize outcomes by type (signified by letters) and quality (the higher up, the better), which will require synthesizing a by-and-large assessment of each. (To make the example more concrete, imagine you’re running an ice cream shop and the W’s represent sales, the X’s represent customer experience
ratings, the Y’s represent press and reviews, the Z’s represent staff engagement, etc.)
From the first chart, you can see that it was a great day for sales in the first column (because the W’s are at the top) and a bad day for customer experience (the X’s). You might conjecture why—maybe a crowd generated sales but produced long lines.
People who are good at pulling out such patterns of events are rare and essential, but as with most abilities, synthesizing through time is only partially innate; even if you’re not good at it, you can get better through practice.