"...Another fundamental reason for the success of General Motors (GM)- is our approach to problems. It is really an attitude of mind. It might be defined as bringing the research point of view to bear on all phases of the business. This involves, first, assembling all the facts, second, analysis of where the facts appear to point, and third, courage to follow the trail indicated even if it leads into unfamiliar and unexplored territory. This point of view is never satisfied with things as they are. It assumes that everything and anything- whether it be product, service, process, method, procedure, or social or human relations can be improved. [Bold & italics supplied]."
"It may appear to be boastful, but I truly believe that in GM, we have developed to a unique degree this attitude of an inquiring mind. We are always seeking ways to make things better and do things better.
If decisions are adjusted by managers based on seniority, tenure, popularity, or influence with the bosses, it would promote internal politics, since people soon come to recognize that the way to get ahead is to develop some personal power position that can be used as a lever (Bower, 1966). An inquiring mind, therefore, leads to a factual approach to decision-making, which in turn would lead to a high-performing company.
Tips How to Diagnose if Your Company is following fact-founded decision making:
1. During meetings, do you often hear people talking about "who's right" instead of "what's right?"
2. Do you hear managers say something like: "Don't bother me with facts, my mind is made up.
3. Do managers resent if their subordinates call their attention to facts that suggest action contrary to their own ideas?
Whose job is to build the fact-founded approach?
The higher the executive, the more powerful will example be. But the head of any department or section can build the factual approach into his unit. If he insists on facts and acts on facts, his subordinates will do the same. Both their morale and performance will improve (Bower, 1966).
Some decisions are indeed quickly made, especially if your house is on fire. For other complex problems, it is prudent for top executives to have an inquiring mind: gather and analyze data, and hear from people who are closest to the process, before making an action.
Bower, M, (1966). The Will to Manage- Corporate Success Through Programmed Management. McGraw-Hill Book Company. https://www.amazon.com/Will-Manage-Corporate-Programmed-Management/dp/007006735X/