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Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-based Management Kindle Edition
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For example, many companies look at a successful competitor and blindly copy what they are doing in one area, thinking they can therefore have the same results. But maybe it's an entirely different area which is leading to the success. Maybe the company is doing well in spite of that specific practice. It's only by looking at a number of examples - both of successful and failing companies - that the real patterns can emerge. And even if there is a trait that does work at other companies, it still might not work in the target location. Every technique should be tested and evaluated in its destination before it's fully implemented.
In another example, some companies reward the top 10% of employees as the best. But perhaps the other employees are equally the best at what they do, but it's just measured in a different way. Or maybe they could be the best if they had a different boss or were in a different position.
Some jobs focus on providing monetary rewards, when employees might crave recognition or a more flexible work schedule. If a manager thinks, "I just need to throw more money at them to get the job done", because that seems common sense to him, he could miss out on a much productive work force.
A key message of Hard Facts is that a company should be viewed as an unfinished prototype. It should always be tweaked, polished, and examined - but not blindly. A change should not be forced in just because a neighbor is doing it. Experiments should be conducted to see if the change is really beneficial for the company in question. In the same way, every "sacred cow" should be up for exploration. With a culture of innovation and curiosity, a company can increase its ability to adapt and stay viable in the ever-changing marketplace we all now live in.
There is a wealth of enormously helpful advice in the book. But I also feel that in order to make its points that "no normal practice should be unexamined" that the book sometimes gets a bit extreme / silly in its examples. It seems to look down on the wearing of uniforms by medical professionals and police - but those uniforms serve a purpose in setting an expectation in civilians who encounter them. It puts down rules against dating colleagues, when there is little way that a boss-employee relationship cannot be completely separated from the power relationship. It instructs people to be true to their nature - but what if a boss is naturally short tempered? Surely that boss should work on altering his nature to be more supportive of his staff.
In a section talking about how a culture of "helping others" is good for a company, they use an example of someone who is annoyed to help but does it anyway. I'm not sure if that's a great example of the culture a company wants to foster. They praise a company who refused to tell potential employees what their salary would be. I'm sorry, but if I am quitting my job to work for someone else, I need to know they're going to pay me more than $800 a year!
I think their purpose was to get readers to stretch their minds about areas they might have hard-set beliefs in. However, by making some of those examples so extreme, they undermined their effectiveness in getting their message across. I want to be nodding my head in agreement as I read a book of ideas, not shaking my head in disagreement.
Still, the underlying message is sound. Don't reject a strategy as being flawed when it might be the implementation that is iffy. Be willing to put aside existing beliefs and give other ones a try. Release your commitment to the "current way" and be willing to see if other ways might be better. Sure, sometimes they won't be. But at least by trying, testing, and experimenting, you don't miss the chance to make things even more efficient and supportive.
Well recommended, with a grain of salt in their examples. Evaluate them and test them with your own mind.
I purchased this book with my own funds in order to use it as a textbook in a Leadership class.
For those that have seen through or tired of the endless stream of fad management processes, this book lifts the lid on most "popular" management systems and details the failings of good companies and bad alike. With this more balanced approach and the emphasis on empirical data analysis in order to make business decisions this book is a fantastic foundation resource for executives at all levels.
My favorite extract is " Firstly, the willingness to put aside belief and conventional wisdom-the dangerous half-truths that many embrace-and instead head and act on the facts; second, and unrelenting commitment to gather the facts and information necessary to make more informed and intelligent decisions, and to keep pace with new evidence and use the new facts to update practices."
Intuitively, many (including myself ) have been opposed to the blind advice of leaders but lacked the evidence to challenge such assumptions. This resources provides a practical and systematic approach to significantly improve and enhance any business and decision process.
I thoroughly recommend this book to all business leaders and owners if you truly want to succeed.
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