The Heart of the Problem (continued – 3)

Let’s work some more with Steve’s post about the social science model and specifically……

An obsession with data and technique.

Data obsession gets decision makers off the hook.  Decision makers look to get off a hook when their confidence is hijacked by fear.  “Let’s get more information”, is often code for, “I need to buy some time”.  Typically, leaders who feel particularly vulnerable about risks associated with “walking point” (the most dangerous job in the infantry squad), stall things out by legitimizing a need for more data.  Friedman says this avoidance is linked to a denial of emotional processes by and within the leader and his or her organizational environment.  Denying the existence of these processes is to avoid the hard work of understanding how these processes work to undermine emotional maturity.

It is no accident that income statements and balance sheets are sometimes referred to as autopsy reports.  While financial data is crucial to organizational health, its effectiveness may be inversely proportional to the amount of time spend analyzing it.  Its minutia might capture the mind, but not always in a healthy way.

Hyper focus on the data may be a dodge to get out of  moving on what may be controversial – but necessary – decisions.

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