Today’s screed is a little backwards. As you might have noticed, much of the time I’m taking something I learned or realized and applying the point to business. Today I want to do the opposite – take a business point and apply it to life outside of business.
I don’t believe that anyone who plans on staying in business for very long chooses to be ignorant of what’s going on in that business. Sales reports, analytics, financial reports and such are all part of the daily life of a businessperson. In fact, one big complaint I hear from clients is that they’re often overwhelmed with the amount of information that’s available to them and they need help sorting it out to understand what it all means. They do NOT, however, simply ignore it. They also tend not to take a single piece of data that supports their world view and ignore many others that contradict their position without a number of damn good reasons to do so. Using a good sales report to say you’re doing well while ignoring the P/L that shows you’re losing money on each sale isn’t just irresponsible – it’s suicidal.
Most of us who’ve been doing this for a while (like more than a year, frankly) understand this. So what has me baffled is why we chose to do exactly the opposite when it comes to our government. No, this isn’t a political statement but yes, it is about politics. I’ve spoken with a number of pretty smart people lately who have done with their political views something they would never do in business. They didn’t get the facts or let one fact which supported whatever world view they had obliterate an overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary. In some ways it’s like my grandmother choosing to vote for the Jewish-sounding names regardless of their political positions – she had the only fact she wanted and chose ignorance about the rest.
We live in an age where there is a lot of information about issues. Some of it is carefully researched, some is twisted into propaganda, and some is totally made up. It’s not easy to sort it out but each of us has to try, whatever our own beliefs about an issue and a candidate. What are the facts? Is what a candidate saying today the same as what they said last week or month or year? Do they acknowledge inconsistencies in their positions? Is someone telling the truth (and please let me know when you find someone who is!).
Obviously I support certain candidates and have positions on the issues but I respect those who disagree as long as they’ve got a grasp of the facts and have thought through their positions. We never choose ignorance in business because if we do we’re not in business for very long. Why would any of us chose to do so with something that has an even greater impact on our collective lives?