We don’t have control, we have choices. The best we can do is improve our method of making choices and hope for good results.
This is the rub. We generally set ourselves up for disappointment and failure because we make emotional choices and don’t get the results we want. We assume that our environment is predictable and that the universe behaves according to a fixed process that coincides nicely with our expectations. The plain truth is that you don’t know what you don’t know. And sometimes, you are not even aware that you don’t know.
This may seem like a bunch of idle chatter, but the concept impacts businesses everyday. This is why Six Sigma and Lean are so important in our global economy. Reducing variability and making processes more predictable improves the quality of our decision making. Less emotion and more critical analysis.
I did an experiment while participating in a March Madness Basketball Pool this past year. I entered three different brackets. One bracket was based upon selecting my favorite teams, one was based upon my “gut feelings” about who would win, and the last I did using statistical data from experts in the college basketball world.
These are the typical decision making strategies seen everyday in business. The emotional decision, the gut feeling, and the critically analyzed decision. In the case of my brackets, the one based on my emotions (favorite teams) fared the worst. The Bracket based upon my gut feelings did marginally better. The bracket based upon statistical research did really well.
This is the point behind Six Sigma and Lean. Moving toward data based decisions. It doesn’t mean that using gut feelings is always bad. There is a time and place for everything. When properly implemented, Six Sigma and Lean will reduce variation in your processes and make them more predictable. This in turn increases the quality of our choices.