Photo by jeffwesse
I was reading this post today in the Nudge Blog about something that happened in the NFL league this week (a decision made by Bill Belichick). Honestly, I don’t really understand the NFL lingo, but one quote in the post caught my eyes:
“Well, he went for it and it didn’t work. Then his team lost a game it was winning by six points with two minutes left. We don’t need any more proof then that to know it was a dumb decision, no matter what any stat geeks claim. This isn’t calculus calls. This is the NFL.”
In my blog I wrote a number of times about the idea of outcome management. Instead of telling your employees how to do the job you need them to do, just explain to them what the final needed outcome is and let them do it their way. Then judge them according to the results.
But judging results does not mean that we should ignore efforts or processes. In a football game, just like in real life, people have to make many decisions under pressure. Sometimes the outcomes of those decisions are positive and sometime they are not. But even if the outcome is negative it does not necessarily mean that decision was wrong. It just means it led to an unwanted outcome. And vice versa. Good decisions could lead to bad outcomes.
Failure is an important part of growing, learning and improving (also see here). As long as we learn from it. If we only look at the outcome, we might miss the real lesson for next time. The problem is, only decisions are under our control, while outcomes are always subject to chance. So while determining the process for our employees is not the best of ideas, helping them learn to improve their process, by assessing it together, is the right way to go.
So, before you decide that your employees made a “dumb decision” look for more evidence than the mere fact that team lost the game.