What is a fact? We observe and make different perceptions on the reality around us. And when we start to discuss an issues, we select different facts, out of 100 facts, one person will pick 5 and another person will pick another 5 facts. Facts become relevant facts when they are shared. Then, they are a starting point for people to agree on - as long as this is not the case, they are just opinion. So, when exploring facts, it is important to get an agreement on which facts you share.
In their book Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-Based Management
, Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton suggest that there are three common management flaws in dealing with facts: non-systematic benchmarking, grounding decisions on what has worked in the past, and following deeply held but yet unexamined ideologies.
is based on five principles:
- Face the hard facts, and build a culture in which people are encouraged to tell the truth, even if it is unpleasant.
- Be committed to "fact based" decision making -- which means being committed to getting the best evidence and using it to guide actions.
- Treat your organization as an unfinished prototype -- encourage experimentation and learning by doing.
- Look for the risks and drawbacks in what people recommend -- even the best medicine has side effects.
- Avoid basing decisions on untested but strongly held beliefs, what you have done in the past, or on uncritical "benchmarking" of what winners do.
A great tool for exploring facts are the "reporter questions": What? When? Where? How? Who? If you want to explore facts, you can always get a big benefit from these question.
Questions for Deeper Exploration
- What are your facts and what are my facts?
- What is your opinion about the facts?
- How do we know that we know?
- Can we find other, independent sources for facts?