In my last post I argued for E.B.M. (evidence based management) as an approach that will help you:
- Make the best possible decisions
- As fast as possible
- At the lowest possible cost
Here are some suggestion on how to promote E.B.M. in your own organisation.
1. Change your own mind
Management deals with social problems, not mechanical problems. You are managing people, not machines, so you must deal with emotions, wants and needs. All these things shift over time, so a solution that works today may not work next week. E.B.M. requires a consistent process for setting goals, reviewing outcomes and learning lessons.
2. Get more than one perspective on your problem
You won’t get the full picture if your data comes from only one source or represents only one view of the world. And your decisions will be imperfect before you’ve even made them. If everybody agrees, how will you know if you’re wrong?
If unconnected sources verify each other, your data is more trustworthy.
3. Test your data for accuracy and relevance
Always test the quality of your information. Your M.I. systems should include direct, consequential accountability for data integrity but you should hold people to account only for the things that they can control. Calling people out for things that they can’t control is a recipe for poor morale.
If people present something as “good” or “bad”, what is the basis for this value judgement? Data becomes information when we compare or contrast it with a reference point. Such as a target, a benchmark or a trend.
4. Test your targets for usefulness
When setting performance targets look at what the boss wants and what is happening on the shop floor. Let the top-down and bottom-up views meet halfway. This brings a good balance of aspiration and realism.
When reviewing performance, review the targets as well as the outcomes. You might have missed the target but perhaps it was – with the benefit of hindsight – not such a good target after all.
5. Allow your people to respond
It is good to give your staff knowledge and skills but it is not enough.
When they realise something is wrong they will want to respond to it. Then the will feel in control of the situation. This is a powerful motivator, and will cement shop floor acceptance of your E.B.M. approach.
Delegating the authority to make decisions is a leap of faith. The leap is far easier if you know that your people are making their decisions well — so test the approach. This is a core benefit of E.B.M. and your people will thank you for it.
Oliver Cunningham helps people make better decisions faster at Active Ops
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Image by Jeffrey