Arguing against yourself first

18 11 2016

Alcohol is necessary for a man so he can have a good opinion of himself, undisturbed by the facts.” ~ Findley Peter Dunne

You’ve heard my frequently reported story about a group of MBA candidates being asked to rank themselves, and 80% of them put themselves in the top 20% of the class.  It’s natural to want to fool ourselves by selecting only a section of the facts, or a snippet of data, to prove our point about how good we are, or how successful our initiative is.

Leaders, keep in mind when you’re doing an analysis , or assessing a program.  You may have a bias in your head on how you want the analysis to come out, but do yourself and the team a favor:  Play devil’s advocate to your own program. Think about what someone who would argue against you would ask, and then  see if there’s data there to support THEIR position.  Worst case, you find out that you’re wrong early in the process.  Best case, you have a counter for their argument against you, and have data ready to prove it.

Speaking of alcohol…


Rubes cartoons used with permission.




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