Marvin Bower

Like so many other management concepts…the value of the fact-founded approach depends on the degree and effectiveness of its use. My observations convince me that only the most successful companies really use facts adequately and with full effectiveness in developing strategic plans and making decisions. Too many executives get fixed attitudes on common issues, typifying the cliché, “My mind is made up-don’t bother me with the facts.” Too many executives-even some successful ones-come to value their own opinions and judgments so highly that they ignore or underestimate facts.

Ideally, the job of building in the fact-founded approach starts at the top. In large-scale organizations, the factual approach must be constantly nurtured by high-level executives. The more layers of authority through which facts must pass before they reach the decision maker, the greater the danger that they will be suppressed, modified, or softened so as not to displease the “brass.” For this reason, high-level executives must keep reaching for facts or soon they won’t know what is going on. Unless they make visible efforts to seek and act on facts, major problems will not be brought to their attention, the quality of their decisions will decline, and the business will gradually get out of touch with its environment.

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