By Paul Chaffee

Socrates’ judgment that “the unexamined life is not worth living” resonates 2500 years later, applying not only to our lives but to the work we do, including magazines, books, videos, podcasts, campaigns, and everything else religious communicators pursue. Taylor Morrison’s expertise is in survey diagnostics and branding. She brings solid business credentials ranging from successful Kickstarter projects to participating in a leadership development program at a Fortune 100 company. Now she has her own consultancy.

She presented “So, how did we do?”: The Oft-Forgotten Question as a workshop during the recent joint convention of the RCC and ACP in Chicago in early April.

Taylor Morrison starts out by focusing on “meaningful data,” information and insight that grows out of and is true to your organization/project/publication’s values, mission statement, and vision. Meaningful data, in other words, is information that can be measured in the context of values, mission, and vision. Morrison spent considerable time detailing two kinds of surveys – pulse surveys, which are quick (push the smiley face, the plain face, or the frowning face); and then the longer surveys which can be interesting and easy to complete or a pain in the neck.

Best survey practices? Know what you are measuring. Be clear. Ask one question at a time. Don’t lead the responder by how you ask a question. And be short and sweet. If what you learn in the process is valuable, “meaningful,” it will help you reframe your issues, restructure what you’ve created, or perhaps add or retire some part of your mission statement and how it is achieving your goals.

Epistemology is a fancy word about knowing – What do we know, how do we know, and what does that all mean? Taylor Morrison is intent teaching us how to know better who we are and what we do as religion communicators, and how to improve. You can get a PhD studying this stuff. In a brief 90 minutes, Ms. Morrison’s presentation was a clear, down-to-earth walk-through of survey diagnostics that was well received by those who attended.


Paul Chaffee is editor of The Interfaith Observer, a free independent digital publication for those interested in advancing interfaith understanding and cooperation. He is based in San Francisco, CA.

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