The NBC Nightly News segment was fun, though the 4-hour shoot became just 15 seconds of airtime. That’s showbiz. I’m trying for permission to post the segment on the web.
‘Face facts,’ my mom used to say. That’s the moral of business book Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths And Total Nonsense: Profiting From Evidence-Based Management, which inspired this month’s article on the times we stop facing facts so we can (short-term) keep feeling comfy.
- Article: Why we don’t face facts … but should
- Overcoming Email Overload: It’s a strategic issue.
- Upcoming challenge: can you solve a simple business problem?
========== Article: Why we don’t face facts … but should
I was reading Hard Facts,(1) a business book that presented a case for ‘evidence-based management.’ In evidence-based management, better business results come from using data and sound reasoning. Sounds pretty obvious to me, but the authors felt compelled to make a case for evidence-based management using facts. Of course, people who believe facts are for sissies won’t buy that argument. But I’ve found confronting hard facts is often way worth the payoff.
You see, facts matter. You believe you can fly? Great. Dive off a 10-story building with no safety net. Gravity will dispute you. Gravity will win. If you act from untrue beliefs and aren’t willing to look at the unfolding facts, your flying belief might lead to an abrupt, messy end.
We only want facts at our review if we’re doing a good job
We all believe we’re great at whatever we do. We resist evidence to the contrary. When I help an executive create a development plan using 360-degree feedback exercise, their self-perception (‘I am a communication skills God’) mismatches the feedback (‘Charlie has the worst communication skills I’ve seen in 35 years of work’). Charlie’s reaction? ‘Wow. That feedback hurts. But maybe people here just don’t know what good communication skills are like.’ As if!
When it comes to leadership, others’ perceptions matter because perception IS reality. If people don’t understand or respect Charlie, they won’t follow him, they won’t listen to him, and they won’t promote him. Even if they’re all wrong and he’s right, it won’t matter, because creating the right perception is a vital part of his job.
Know if your beliefs work
Sometimes facts annoy us by contradicting our long-held beliefs. So we ignore them. We believe good leadership means using a dictatorial, micro-managing style. We demand 80-hour work-weeks, are stingy with vacation time … and wonder why a steady stream of ungrateful jerks work for us and leave right when we need them most. Facts say that giving people autonomy, engaging commitment, and allowing them a natural rhythm of work/recovery simply works better than being bossy. Besides, you hated it when you parents were bossy; do you really think your employees are any different? Your belief may make you feel powerful, but it isn’t an effective way to run the business. Don’t let the lust to be Alpha Dog blind you to being Effective Dog. (Fact: my metaphors are a bit strained today.)
Know your productivity facts
We love to ignore the facts when doing what makes us feel productive. Email addiction is one place this shows up. Many executives spend 25%+ of their time handling email that only accounts for 5% of their results, They confuse busy-ness with business. Just because we feel productive doesn’t make us productive unless the facts back it up.
Think about how you approach your job. Do you if your beliefs are supported by facts? Or if they’re contradicted? The more you can build the strength to use data and objectivity in your decision-making, the more you’ll find you can shape a path that leads you and your organization to your most closely-held goals.
========== OVERLOADED BY EMAIL?
The webinar was a success, despite some … interesting … technical glitches. Coming later this year: a product on how to manage your email. The product will focus on the strategy of integrating email into your job, and will present tactics that support smart strategy.
(Also coming soon: a white paper on how email overload is a strategic issue for companies, despite often being viewed as an individual productivity problem.)
Meanwhile, find out exactly what email overload is costing you and your company. It’s free and it’s fun. Visit:
========== UPCOMING CHALLENGE PODCAST & BLOG: http://blog.steverrobbins.com/bizblog/, http://www.steverrobbins.com/podcast
Stay tuned for my Podcast & BLOG the week of the 24th. In my Podcast, I’ll be presenting a deceptively simple question about business and issuing a challenge for the first person to think through the Facts and answer correctly.
========== Need breakthroughs in your business or career? Call 617-491-7638!
Are you reaching the breakthroughs you need around business, strategy, career, and people? I can help. Just call +1-617-491-7638. Whether it’s becoming the best executive you can be, heading off to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, or just having a successful business and fulfilling home life, some dreams _should_ come true. I coach high-performing leaders to help them further their skills, careers, and lives.
========== Become a better leader in a Fun, Provocative Read!
Looking for new ideas you can implement immediately to be a more effective leader? Pick up a ‘It Takes a Lot More than Attitude … to Lead a Stellar Organization.’ This collection of essays explores with what it takes to be a great leader, in an engaging, no-nonsense conversation that keeps you turning the pages. It also makes a perfect gift for the person with the leadership title who just doesn’t get it.
Buy it now at http://www.alotmorethanattitude.com
(The only book on leadership that starts by discussing the responsibilities of leadership, and goes on to reveal all the secrets the great leadership pundits never discuss. Like when and why you can wear a feather boa to staff meetings…)
Do Great Things!