Act Like a Scientist

This article appealed to my technical mind. They suggest that all too often our managers over relying on gut instinct and personal experience, and keep failing to critically examine—much less challenge—the ideas on which their decisions are based. To correct this problem, they need to think and act like scientists. That requires doing five things:

  1. being a knowledgeable skeptic and relentlessly questioning assumptions;
  2. investigating anomalies—things that are unexpected or don’t look right;
  3. devising testable hypotheses that can be quantifiably confirmed or disproved;
  4. running experiments that produce hard evidence; and
  5. probing cause and effect.

They give examples of how scientific methods can help companies discard ineffective practices, increase marketing and operational efficiency, boost customer satisfaction and sales, find new sources of growth, and even turn around struggling businesses.

I’m not in favor of relying on the scientific method if creates long, drawn out methods to prove ideas before putting them into action, but rather fostering a culture of being able to experiment. At National Instruments, Dr. Truchard famously called it the ‘ooch approach’. Rather than over-analyze, make your best decision based on available information. Make small test cases and fail-fast to move forward.

August 17, 2022