I love reading, listening to audio tapes and researching. As a longtime consultant and business owner, you can never learn enough. And, I also like to share many of the information, so that I can provide guidance or insight to anyone who, like myself, always looking to improve.
As I was reading though some articles I came across this one. (I Love Harvard Business review), and it really resonated. The reason why I wanted to share it, is because I have run across many managers and consultants who consistently use the “one size fits all” approach to almost all of their advice and methods. I have always disagreed with such methods. Below is an article that will give you a better understanding about why I agree with their insight.
Evidence-Based Medicine-A bold new way of thinking has taken the medical establishment by storm in the past decade: the idea that decisions in medical care should be based on the latest and best knowledge of what actually works. Dr. David Sackett, the individual most associated with evidence-based medicine, defines it as “the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients.” Sackett, his colleagues at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, and the growing number of physicians joining the movement are committed to identifying, disseminating, and, most importantly, applying research that is soundly conducted and clinically relevant.
If all this sounds laughable to you—after all, what else besides evidence would guide medical decisions?—then you are woefully naive about how doctors have traditionally plied their trade. Yes, the research is out there—thousands of studies are conducted on medical practices and products every year. Unfortunately, physicians don’t use much of it. ( You are probably thinking, what!!?)
Recent studies show that only about 15% of their decisions are evidence based. For the most part, here’s what doctors rely on instead: obsolete knowledge gained in school, long-standing but never proven traditions, patterns gleaned from experience, the methods they believe in and are most skilled in applying, and information from hordes of vendors with products and services to sell.
The same behavior holds true for consultants looking to cure organizational ills. Indeed, we would argue, managers are actually much more ignorant than doctors about which prescriptions are reliable—and they’re less eager to find out. If doctors practiced medicine like many companies practice management, there would be more unnecessarily sick or dead patients and many more doctors in jail or suffering other penalties for malpractice.
It’s time to start an evidence-based movement in the ranks of consultants! Admittedly, in some ways, the challenge is greater here than in medicine. The evidence is weaker; almost anyone can (and often does) claim to be a management consultant or manager expert; and a bewildering array of sources—Shakespeare, Billy Graham, Jack Welch, Tony Soprano, fighter pilots, Santa Claus, Attila the Hun—are used to generate management advice.
Managers seeking the best evidence also face a more vexing problem than physicians do: Because companies vary so wildly in size, form, and age, compared with human beings, it is far more risky in business to presume that a proven “cure” developed in one place will be effective elsewhere.
That is why the best consultants in the world do what others should…advise on personal experiences that work, analyze every aspect of the company (that time allows) and prescribe a solution that fits. We at Olivia International Inc. do just that. Because it’s not a one size fits all type of world.
Still, it makes sense that when managers listen to consultants that act on better logic and evidence, their companies will trump the competition. That is why I’ve spent my entire research career, especially the last five years, working to develop and surface the best evidence on how companies ought to be managed and teaching managers the right mind-set and methods for practicing evidence-based management. As with medicine, management is and will likely always be a craft that can be learned only through practice and experience. Yet we believe that managers (like doctors) can practice their craft more effectively if they are routinely guided by the best logic and evidence—and if they relentlessly seek new knowledge and insight, from both inside and outside their companies, to keep updating their assumptions, knowledge, and skills. We aren’t there yet, but we are getting closer. The managers and companies that come closest already enjoy a pronounced competitive advantage.
Written by Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton