Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 11/13/17

I had to give bad news to a buyer about one of his lieutenants some years ago. I was concerned because this was a high six-figure client overall, and the buyer was president of a major division. On top of that, he had a Ph.D. in chemistry.

“I’m sorry to have to tell you this, John,” I began. After I was done, he said, “Alan, it’s disappointing, but we’re both scientists and we have to abide by the empirical evidence.” At that point, I turned around to see if another scientist had entered the room. But, no, he was referring to me (and pre-Ph.D. of my own).

As I thought about that subsequently, I realized this: We experts make observations that we combine into principles. (I call them “processes” in my books.) For example, we may observe that people are leaving a company only in two of its five areas, and realize that it’s not the company that is causing turnover but rather the two leaders in those areas. Thus, the principle is that employees leave bosses, not companies.

We then use those principles to make predictions: In this case, we need to hire and/or promote leaders who realize and demonstrate that their job is to attract, nurture, and retain talent. If we do that, we’ll have strong, sustainable high performance.

What do you know? That’s what Aristotle and Leonardo both did. We are “scientists,” so we might as well accept that and get good at it.

To mistrust science and deny the validity of scientific method is to resign your job as a human. You’d better go look for work as a plant or wild animal. —P.J. O’Rourke

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