The problem with memories…


The problem with memories is that they’re often false.


Let me explain…  You’ve probably heard about what can happen to a “true” story if John tells it to Mary and Mary then tells Patrick and Patrick then tells …..  until someone tells the story back to John.  The story will probably have changed substantially.


But that’s not the only problem.  As individuals we revise our memories over time.  Totally innocently.  And we can do so with conviction.  As Elizabeth Loftus said in a TED talk in Edinburgh last year, memory works “more like a Wikipedia page: You can go in there and change it, but so can other people“.   (Loftus is a renowned psychologist who has been studying this area since the 1970s.  You can view the fascinating TED talk here. The quote is at around the 5:25 mark.)


How is this applicable to your business?


The answer is data.


Collected data, if held securely, does not change.  Mathematical analysis of it does not change.


Don’t rely on vague impressions such as:


“Our customers are fairly satisfied with us – they don’t complain much”.


Or :


“Our employees feel fairly engaged – they’re not revolting and we’re reaching a lot of our targets”.


Those are weak.


You also can’t measure any future trend because you don’t have a baseline to start with.


So – measure and get the data.  Collected data will allow you to avoid the problems of false memories – whether the falsification is malignant or benign.  And it’ll also give you a numeric baseline against which to measure future performance.


You want to collect some unambiguous hard data on which to base your business decisions?  I’d be glad to discuss!


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