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A Section from "The Continuous Improvement Development Guide"

Volume 2: Committing >

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Embrace Facts and Data (Principle)

Basic Section Information

Far too often, people rely upon gut feel and opinion to make decisions. Whether this is done by leaders directing their teams, or by groups of problem solvers working on their projects, the outcome tends to be the same: poor results.

At the heart of great leadership is an affinity for facts and data. The same holds true for continuous improvement.  Without facts and data, any decision is just a guess. Now, that is not to say that leadership and problem solving is simply number crunching. There is a blend of art and science that goes into both. Experience and training help decision makers determine which data to use and which facts are relevant.

In a continuous improvement organization, the pace is simply too fast and the expectations for getting better are too high to waste precious resources. Making decisions based on facts and data helps get the most out of the time and money and energy you commit to your improvement efforts.

This principle, Embrace Facts and Data, is a bedrock principle for continuous improvement.

Prerequisites

Using facts and data demands a level of trust between teams and their leaders. Make sure to review and begin incorporating the following principles into your organization before focusing on facts and data.

Section Details

Estimated Time for Section: Variable

While the principle is ongoing, it is highly variable in how quickly a company adopts facts and data into their culture.

Difficulty: Low

The actual process of making decisions based on numbers is easy. The challenge lies in making the choice to actually do it, hence the variable time mentioned above in the time frame.

Risk: Low

There is little risk that comes from using numbers in decision making. In fact, this principle actually reduces the risk of making poor decisions.

There is a small risk of morale issues if facts and data, specifically metrics, are used to target individual performance issues.

Materials Required

No special materials are required for this section.

 

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Detailed Section Information

Far too often, people act on instinct to make decisions.  They rely upon assumptions and opinions rather than facts and data.

As a result, problem solving efforts come up short and leadership decisions take the organization in the wrong direction.

The problem is that people overestimate their ability to make decisions without following a strong process. They tend to feel that they have a better understanding of the situation than they really do.

What Are “Facts and Data”?

Facts and data are the qualitative (facts) and quantitative (data) descriptors of the entity or situation under observation. The key is that both facts and data are not open to interpretation, and they are not dependent upon the person assessing them.

Facts and data are non-arbitrary. “He is too tall to be a pilot” is an opinion. “He is 6’4″ tall” is data. “His height exceeds the USAF height range for a pilot” is a fact. While the opinion may be correct, it is not presented in a way that precludes disagreement. Other people may have different opinions. Facts and data are not open to interpretation.

Better Decisions

The most obvious benefit of using facts and data to make decisions is that…

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This information is only available in our premium version of this section of our practical guide to continuous improvement.

This information is only available in our premium version of this section of our practical guide to continuous improvement.

This information is only available in our premium version of this section of our practical guide to continuous improvement.

This information is only available in our premium version of this section of our practical guide to continuous improvement.

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