There is a story attributed to Albert Einstein about how he would interview prospective faculty members for a position at Princeton University. The story goes that he would invite them to dinner and if the candidate salted his or her food before they tasted it, he would reject them as a candidate.
Why would he do this? He believed that this candidate made an assumption about an outcome before he or she gathered the necessary data. They had a preconceived notion, and that did not, in his opinion, represent an open mind.
How about you? Now, apply this to people – not just food: Do you form opinions and make a judgment about people before you have a chance to gather the facts about them – before you personally experience them?
Think about this for a moment. Have you ever assumed someone was not qualified for a leadership position in your company but circumstances put them in a position of leadership, and they surprised everyone, including you, with their outstanding performance? Or, more commonly, have you been absolutely certain that your hand picked candidate would be excellent for a new leadership opportunity and they flamed out?
If you said yes to either (or both) of these questions, you are not likely to have been hired by Einstein. You would also join the ranks of managers who base their decisions on assumptions and impressions, and not on observable facts. (Now, we don’t mean to be flippant; our intention is to cause you to reflect and consider the application this has to you.)
Basing your decision on observable and evidence based facts is important because:
• It builds your reputation as a thoughtful, fair, and open-minded leader
• It eliminates the opportunity for the informal organization to have a negative discussion topic about how you approach decision making and relationships
• It shows leadership through example: the decisions we make around here are based on data and observations
• It enhances your influence to drive the organization to more fact-based decision making
• It ensures making a better candidate advancement choice that has a much higher probability of success
• It simply makes sense.
Leaders are judged largely by the decisions they make. Making better decisions is a choice. You can choose to “wing it” or you can choose to be mindful. In our experience, the leaders who choose to be more thoughtful and less impulsive and judgemental are the leaders that employees want to follow and emulate. And that is good for you, your company and for your employees.
copyright 2014 Kubica LaForest Consulting