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facts are not sufficient

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One of the on-going issues in project management as well as executive sponsorship that I keep coming across are the presentation of facts.

Facts are good and should not be ignored – unfortunately most people stop there.

Facts are only snapshots – they rarely take into account the context before, during and after the fact was established.

Which makes waving facts fruitless and frustrating in front of those that know better (like yours truly).

Most facts will change when the environment around them changes — meaning facts are contextual.

Once you understand the need to question the context before, during, and after a fact, someone can waive all the facts they want in front of you without effect — and they’ll believe you’re the one that’s nuts until they learn this principle themselves.

You — all of us — are all ignorant about something and usually about many things, and in every instance throughout any given day you have the option to either make yourself available to learn, or not.

One can have all the knowledge they want, but without discernment and wisdom as well as making themselves unavailable to learn, they will remain more stupider than any ignorant.

Another point — believing your source is trustworthy does not equate to facts being trustworthy.

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Perceptions, skewed data, beliefs, past experiences all play a part in what anyone believes is true — that, however, hardly makes a fact true.

There is a whole ‘nother level to talk about when it comes to facts and that will be discussed at a future time, and more likely in a paid webinar.

Principles are applicable in all areas of life, not just where one selects they should be — and principles have been around since before man could write.

Being politically correct isn’t really helping the situation much either as such words like to ‘soften’ the impact of words — which only softens everything else as well, like facts.

If you want hard and true facts you can’t be using soft wording — it’s like trying to sharpen a knife… on a sponge…

A study of any civilization, culture, faith, religion, sovereignty, political party, business organization, any large group of people will expose certain principles that just cannot be ignored no matter who they are, when they lived, where they believe they are going, or who they believe they are (or were).

Principles are as unbiased as unbiased gets — and you don’t need AI to be sure of this.

why facts are important

Principles Are the Brothers to Ethics

Principles are  like ethics — there is no such thing as government ethics though many will try, there is not such thing as business ethics though many expound there is, there is no such thing as personal, sports, name-your-flavor ethics…

There is just ethics and principles work will function as they are in spite of beliefs, facts, opinions…

You do not even have to believe in the principle and it will still make its presence known – good, bad, or indifferent.

When you learn or hear of something that is challenging your beliefs and your knowledge and yet remain unchanged, refusing to face your convictions (aka emotions) then that only makes you stupid, no matter how many degrees and awards you have.

If that seemed harsh, ask yourself why — we are all taken back by words that convict us, and at that point we have two options: either run towards our convictions or run away from them.

We can never change ourselves running from our convictions — only when running to them.

We are ignorant about something we have not learned yet, once having learned that something we are no longer ignorant…

Making Yourself Available to Learn

What differentiates ignorance from stupidity is your willingness to make yourself available to learn… period.

That willingness is determined multiple times every day with every incident you experience – as well as with attending a formalized lesson at any level.

Any of us can have all the knowledge in the world from whatever sources, yet without discernment, without wisdom, any of us would will remain stupider than any ignorant by not pursuing wisdom, discernment.

An Example

Recently, I came across this post written by Justin Campbell, who  is the General Manager of LibertyWorks Inc.

Though Justin is focusing on the political arena, the post presents a great case-in-point for context, facts, principles, ethics, wisdom, and discernment.

Not sure if that was Justin’s intent but that is what he delivered.

If political content bothers you, here’s something to remember: we can learn more from our enemies than we do from our friends WHEN we make ourselves available to learn.

No one ever sharpened a knife on a sponge — no one ever sharpened their wits by surrounding themselves with like-minded either.

We all can learn from people we don’t like, even hate — our prejudices is what closes the door, which in turn makes us unavailable to learn

Our willingness to be open, to make ourselves available to learn is the only thing that keeps doors, opportunities coming.

Now that post I came across…

2016 Word of the Year: Post-Truth… Really??

“In November the Oxford English Dictionary named “post-truth” its word of year.

Post-truth is defined as, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

“The term post-truth along with the phrase ‘low information voter’ have gained popularity post Brexit and Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. Presidential election.

“This has led many in the Twitterati to quote John Maynard Keynes stating, “when the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, Sir?”

“Out of this has come the assumption that there are 2 types of people, those who believe in ‘facts’ and those who are led by the their emotions (low-information voters).

“However, few have asked, What are facts? How reliable are they? Or even, should facts be the primary basis of political decision making?

“The simplest definition of a fact is: ‘A thing that is known or proved to be true’.

“So the first thing one should ask is whether someone’s fact is in fact a fact.

“Too often opinion or evidence is passed off as fact.

“Having evidence of something does not necessarily make it true.

“It’s no surprise that many fact checker websites often get accused of bias, since, if they confined themselves to provable facts they would have little to write about.

“In March 2016 the ABC Fact checker assessed the claim opposition leader Bill Shorten made that the evidence from Europe shows the minimum wage doesn’t contribute to unemployment levels.

“What the ABC Fact checker wrote was an persuasive essay assessing the arguments on both sides of the minimum wage debate.

“The minimum wage debate is one of the most controversial issues in economics and is not capable of being fact checked.

“The truth is that there are many studies arguing both sides and the issues are too complicated to ever be known.

“The minimum wage debate shows the important difference between evidence and facts.

“There is much evidence that increasing the minimum wage does result in a decrease in demand for labour; however, there is also significant evidence showing no or minimal effect.

“Most complicated public policy issues are like this: incapable of ever being determined solely by fact.

“Decision makers instead must assess the strength of evidence and develop an argument based on that evidence with a framework of values.

“This problem of imperfect evidence becomes worse when one considers the problem of reproducibility in many disciplines.

“The gold standard of evidence in science is the controlled experiment, however, in economics, psychology and climate science controlled experiments are rarely possible.

Too often studies are not reproducible; one study found that only half of all economics papers are reproducible.

“Similar studies have found a similar lack of reproducibility in other disciplines.

“This crisis in academia should at very least make one more sceptical of supposed facts generated by such studies.

“Austrian-school economists have long be critical of the ability of mathematics and econometric models to predict human behaviour.

“Ludwig Von Mises wrote in his book Human Action, “The experience with which the sciences of human action have to deal is always an experience of complex phenomena  — no laboratory experiments can be performed with regard to human action.”

“The same principle can be applied to other sciences where controlled experiments are not possible.

“While evidence from studies are interesting and can inform argument, it cannot be considered fact.

“Even when one is in possession of verifiable facts, those facts cannot determine priorities.

“Which is more important – creating jobs or saving an endangered species?

“What do you value more – traditional culture or modern living standards?

“All these decisions are determined not by facts, but individual priorities.

“In free societies these decisions are determined democratically and that is inherently political.

“Such decisions are not the purview of science, but of politics.

“When one claims their view is scientific, they are making a flawed argument.

“If facts can’t be the sole basis for developing an opinion what should be used in its place?

“I would argue that philosophy should be used as a framework for assessing arguments.

“In my case, I assess the evidence available in context of a philosophy that holds liberty as the most important value.

“I ask does this increase or decrease liberty for the individual?

“What are the consequences for the individual?

“Where two person’s liberties clash, I then assess solutions based on which option best preserves liberty for both parties while resolving the conflict.

“In practise facts are less common than often claimed by those claiming we live in a post-fact world.

“People should always assess available evidence to inform their decision, but often that evidence is imperfect.

“Even with facts people still need to assess information on the basis of what they prioritise.

“My highest priority is liberty.”

A reminder: we are only focused on one thing here — discerning facts from emotions, evidence, experience, fallacy…

Principles, ethics, character are the cornerstones of leadership — politics or not.

Side note: If you are dropping any of the 3 just because it is politics, where does that leave you? Serious question.

You – all of who are leaders — should be doing what we can to raise the bar of leadership and stop making someone else’s problems yours.

Content, Context, Perspective

Facts are important – but they are only part of the situation,

Facts in content only, absent of context, are perceptions based only upon limited knowledge and / or limited experience, and many times are empty sacks full of feelings and / or emotions..

In such a case, even a string of facts on the same topic is only as a string of content and perceptions on the same topic.

Too many times, many will make a judgment based upon how they feel about something — all while pretending not to know that emotions, feelings are the most fickle of human traits.

That being the case, how wise is using feelings for facts? judgment? assessment?  decisions that will affect, lead others?

How many do you know have done just that (and start with your mirror)?

Yet many do this every day – in work, in life, in reporting, in story telling, in friendships, in leadership…

Context determines how that fact came about and is many ways more important than the fact itself.

You can tell your aunt, your mother, your sister, your wife or significant other that she has a face that can stop a clock or you can tell her she has a face that makes time stand still — both are facts, but without any context to the situation.

And like truthful context, only one is going to get you anywhere.

You can discover more about clear content and skewed perspective here.

And as with any of our posts, your comments are more than welcome in the comment section below. Where do you see leadership failing our employees? Where should our focus really be on? Do we need to relearn the pillars of leadership as a whole?


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Garrett O'Brien

CEO, Chairman, Publisher, Editor at The HRIS World Research Group

Garrett is the publisher, editor, writer forThe HRIS World Research Group, which includes The HRIS World, The HRIS World Research, The HRIS World Jobs, The HRIS World News, The HRIS World NewsMagazines, and The HRIS World Videos

With more than 20 years in roles as a client executive sponsor (#thwCES), project manager as well as functional/technical lead, Garrett is sought for his expertise for project insights, thought leadership, and team management globally.

He has been involved in large-scale and complex implementations since 1991 and has recently moved his operations to be with his wife in Brazil.

Garrett has had the pleasure of working with some of the greatest talents in the industry, and constantly shares his experiences and knowledge through content and webinars.

He maintains his fluency in Portuguese, German, French, and English with his various endeavors and contacts..

When not working, you will have to be adventurous to stay up with him as Garrett loves motorcycling, gunnery, boating, sailing, flying, and sports fishing -- and accompanying his wife on her various likes

About The HRIS World Research Group

The HRIS World blog, which is read by more than 50,000 from more than 160 countries monthly, manages to have more than 550,000 pages viewed monthly. 40%+ of the audience are decision-makers in their organization (and about half of that being C-levels!).

As CEO for CGServices USA Inc, he focuses on multi-provider, multi-line implementations consultation for HRIS systems

Council and Education Member of Gerson Lehrman Group Council, helping institutions of the world leaders meet, engage and manage experts across a wide range of sectors and disciplines.

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