Every decision maker really should rely on facts before making any decisions – particularly material decisions. This might seem obvious, but fact based approaches are rather few and far between and this is because too many leaders get fixed attitudes on common issues. We often hear “my mind is made up” or “I don’t need to read that…”
Too many leaders simply come to value their own opinion and judgements so highly that they ignore at worst and underestimate at best, the facts.
Taking a fact based approach to decision making, like all organizational philosophies or corporate cultures, needs to be driven from the top and constantly nurtured and reinforced. The more layers of authority through which the facts have to negotiate before reaching the decision maker, the greater the likelihood for them to be modified, suppressed, softened, misinterpreted or massaged so as not to upset the senior executive.
It is because of this that the executives must constantly be looking to get to the facts because if they fail to do so, they will become removed from the reality of the underlying situation. This is a common criticism laid at the doors of senior leaders by front line workers…
Unless leaders make a real and visible attempt to get to the facts, major problems will not be brought to their attention, the quality of their decisions will deteriorate, and the business will lose touch with the reality of the business operating environment.
A fully developed fact based approach on the other hand delivers a number of benefits. First, discussions based on facts stimulate better, more meaningful discussions and the issue at hand is being discussed rather than spurious or incorrect issues and opportunities.
Second, a fact based approach delivers flexibility as when the facts change, the organization can respond and react accordingly. In this way readjustment to reality is continuous and creates sustainability.
Third, a company-wide respect for facts and their objective evaluation improves morale and lowers barriers between hierarchies and authority levels. In addition, an upward flow of facts is enabled and with everyone encouraged to provide facts, decision making can be communicated more effectively.
Finally, decisions based on facts are simply better decisions. Better decisions deliver better performance and better performance delivers a sustainable organization.
So, don’t let facts get in the way…embrace facts and make great decisions based on reality rather then basing decisions on anecdotes or built in biases. Develop a fact based approach in your team and reap the rewards…..