What rules the roost in your organization? The true truth of how things are? Or wishful thinking? If there’s a continuum and on one end is the Hard Facts and the other end is wishful thinking, where would you stick your business? You know what I’m talking about, right? When you’re in a discussion about strategy that will lead to a decision about what to do next is it based on truth? Or just hopefulness that things will work out? Or somewhere in between?
In Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths And Total Nonsense there are several roadblocks to evidence-based management that are mentioned. They’ll ring true to many of you as you dig down into them. The three that get the most attention are:
- Using data changes power dynamics. That is, when you get down to the hard facts, when you get to the place where "the numbers don’t lie", it’s no longer about hierarchy because "facts and evidence are the great levelers of hierarchy." Great line #1.
- People often don’t want to hear the truth. No explanation necessary. This is true everywhere. But in order to really thrive as an organization there must be a willingness to deal with the truth in spite of that reluctance. And the only way around the reluctance is to "consciously and systematically understand the psychological propensity to want to both deliver and hear good news and to actively work against it." Great line #2.
- The marketplace for business ideas is messy and inefficient. And I might add, really contradictory. Hard Facts includes a fascinating list of best selling business books with diametrically opposed titles (Love is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends vs. Business is Combat: A Fighter Pilot’s Guide to Winning in Modern Business Warfare). You may be in an environment where the debris field from a decade of hopping from one idea du jour to another has left a lot of confusion.