Friday, April 23, 2010

Facts v. Opinions

Facts v. Opinions

There are facts and there are opinions. On the other hand, there are facts and there are facts. Here's the metaphor:

A group of wonderful people are going to rehabilitate a 16 unit building in a fancy neighborhood. You know: SoHo, NoHo, BooHoo, one of those places. They invite 16 interior designers (one unit each) to do a complete makeover. Wall treatments, window treatments, floor covering, furniture, accessories, and so on.

Now, the night before the big unveiling, (when no one is around to get hurt) the building collapses. Everyone hurries down to stare (aghast) at the site. There, with his political wisdom and insight, Mayor Bloomberg calls Donald Trump and asks him to come down and take a look at what happened. Upon his arrival, Mr. Trump asks to see the blueprints. The city engineer shows Mr. Trump the blueprints. Mr. Trump shakes his head.

"This is no good," he says. "Supporting walls were removed. New walls were not able to support the upper floors. The floors that were replaced were not structurally sound. The wonderful people who rehabilitated this building should have called me in first to check the plans and make sure the building wouldn't fall down."

What a shame. All those beautiful opinions and no facts. Well, not quite.

  • The fact is, the designers were all brilliant and creative.
  • The fact is, all the window treatments, floor treatments, wall treatments were tasteful and done with products known to be of the highest quality.
  • The fact is, the furniture was tasteful, expesive, elegant.
  • And so on.

All facts. None related to the structural integrity of the building.

The argument could be made that the interior design was actually a matter of opinion. But what cannot be argued is that the structural soundness of the building was not a matter of opinion. It was a matter of facts not taken into consideration. (Evidenced by the fact that the building collapsed.)

The ability of a manager to filter out the opinions from the facts when dealing with issues is important. Just as crucial is having employees who can differentiate between facts and opinions. Not having opinions included can cause hurt feelings. But we are not decorating an apartment. We are working to make sure the building does not fall down.




Copyright (c) 2010 Slim Fairview

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