Managing by Evidence


What is the best approach to business? Should you use SWOT analysis to smartsource cross functional synergies of topgraded red ocean competitors while considering if the sustainability of the question behind the question is who moved your cheese? I hope not, because that last sentence doesn't even mean anything. If reading it made you excited, you should check yourself into the management fad rehabilitation clinic I'm going to open later this year.

A better idea for your business is to use a little know management tool called "looking at the evidence." Jeffrey Pfeffer, author of this book has an article up about why that is a good idea.

Chalk one up for evidence-based management – the notion that real knowledge in the form of empirical analysis of results is the shortest path to the best business decisions. That may seem obvious, yet few companies follow that precept. Many executives make pivotal strategic choices based on nothing more than business fads or the dubious recommendations of advisors who are afraid to challenge the preconceived judgments of their bosses or the organizational status quo.

Like anything, there are limits to where and when you can use this. Data is sometimes difficult to collect, and is sometimes open to interpretation. And business moves quickly, so you can't sit around and do nothing while you wait forever for the right information.

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It would be a huge step in the right direction for most companies to just open up their strategy to a quantitative analysis over time to see if the results are in line with the predictions. Evidence plus accountability may mean you have to admit you are wrong, but that is better than letting pride and blindsight sink what could have been a successful business.