Readability

Stinking Facts

[cap­tion id=“attachment_100424” align=“aligncenter” width=“300”] Alfonso Bedoya in The Trea­sure of Sierra Madre[/​caption]

by baldilocks

Ever­green and mul­ti­pur­pose com­men­tary from Harold S. Geneen, for­mer Pres­i­dent, CEO and Chair­man of ITT, in 1984. The year of the quote is serendipitous.

Time after time in those early ITT man­age­ment meet­ings, I would ques­tion a man about his facts, Where did he get them? (Usu­ally from some other man.) How did he know they were cor­rect? Were they facts? So I wrote a memo about ‘unshake­able facts.’

Yes­ter­day, we put in a long hard-​driving meet­ing mostly seek­ing the facts on which easy man­age­ment deci­sions could be then made. I think the most impor­tant con­clu­sion to be drawn is sim­ple. There is no word in the Eng­lish lan­guage that more strongly con­veys the intent of incon­tro­vert­ibil­ity, i.e. ‘final and reli­able real­ity’ than the word ‘fact.’

How­ever, no word is more hon­ored by its breach in actual usage. For exam­ple, there are and we saw yesterday:

Appar­ent facts’

Assumed facts’

Reported Facts’

Hoped-​for facts’

Facts’ so labeled and accepted as facts — i.e. ‘accepted facts’ — and many oth­ers of sim­i­lar derivation.

In most cases these were not facts at all.

In many cases of daily life this point may not be too impor­tant, but in the area of man­age­ment momen­tum and deci­sion, is all-​important. Whole trains of events and deci­sion of an entire man­age­ment can be put in motion in the wrong direc­tion — with inevitable loss of money, time and morale — by one ‘unfac­tual fact’ accepted by or sub­mit­ted by YOU — how­ever unintentional.

The high­est art of pro­fes­sional man­age­ment requires the lit­eral abil­ity to ‘smell’ a ‘real fact’ from all oth­ers –and more­over to have the temer­ity, intel­lec­tual curios­ity, guts and/​or plain impo­lite­ness, if nec­es­sary to be sure that what you do have is indeed what we will call an ‘unshake­able fact.’

So … start now IS IT A FACT? but more impor­tant, IS IT AN UNSHAKE­ABLE FACT?

No mat­ter what you think, try ‘shak­ing it’ to be sure.

Send this mes­sage down the line.

Juli­ette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was pub­lished in 2012. Her sec­ond novel ten­ta­tively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Fol­low her on Twit­ter and on Gab​.ai.

Please con­tribute to Juliette’s JOB: Her new novel, her blog, her Inter­net to keep the lat­ter going and COF­FEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Inde­pen­dent Journalism!

Alfonso Bedoya in The Treasure of Sierra Madre

by baldilocks

Evergreen  and multipurpose commentary from Harold S. Geneen, former President, CEO and Chairman of ITT, in 1984. The year of the quote is serendipitous.

Time after time in those early ITT management meetings, I would question a man about his facts, Where did he get them? (Usually from some other man.) How did he know they were correct? Were they facts? So I wrote a memo about ‘unshakeable facts.’

Yesterday, we put in a long hard-driving meeting mostly seeking the facts on which easy management decisions could be then made. I think the most important conclusion to be drawn is simple. There is no word in the English language that more strongly conveys the intent of incontrovertibility, i.e. ‘final and reliable reality’ than the word ‘fact.’

However, no word is more honored by its breach in actual usage. For example, there are and we saw yesterday:

‘Apparent facts’

‘Assumed facts’

‘Reported Facts’

‘Hoped-for facts’

‘Facts’ so labeled and accepted as facts – i.e. ‘accepted facts’ – and many others of similar derivation.

In most cases these were not facts at all.

In many cases of daily life this point may not be too important, but in the area of management momentum and decision, is all-important. Whole trains of events and decision of an entire management can be put in motion in the wrong direction – with inevitable loss of money, time and morale – by one ‘unfactual fact’ accepted by or submitted by YOU – however unintentional.

The highest art of professional management requires the literal ability to ‘smell’ a ‘real fact’ from all others -and moreover to have the temerity, intellectual curiosity, guts and/or plain impoliteness, if necessary to be sure that what you do have is indeed what we will call an ‘unshakeable fact.’

So . . . start now IS IT A FACT? but more important, IS IT AN UNSHAKEABLE FACT?

No matter what you think, try ‘shaking it’ to be sure.

Send this message down the line.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!