Scientists don’t get mad when their experiments fail. They don’t get mad when things don’t turn out the way they hypothesized. They don’t blame someone else for things not working. They analyze the data, see if there are any reportable findings, revise and move on.
We do experiments all the time in business. We hypothesize that a new policy, procedure or software tool will help us move forward and do our work better. But in business, people get annoyed when their experiment doesn’t work as planned.
In my work, I see experiments happening every day in organizations. But instead of seeing them as experiments, we see them as solutions. This is a mistake. When we see these as solutions, we don’t test our hypotheses and we don’t collect data to see how our experiment is working. We need a safe to fail culture so we can iterate often enough to succeed.
Since leaders assume the original hypothesis was correct, and they know the solution isn’t working, they assume it must be a human error that is keeping it from working. If people would just work harder or smarter, then it would work. This is the seed of blame and criticism.
How do we become like scientists?
Idea 1: Start approaching all change like it’s an experiment. Change the way you think about change.
Idea 2: Allow yourself to not know the outcome. Try to set up good experiments so the data you collect is useful. Single variable experiments work best. This means don’t change 10 things at once because if it works, you won’t know which variable led to the favorable result.
Idea 3: Check your emotions at the door. Go into your experiment with a neutral perspective. Don’t get mad, get data!
#GoExperiment #experimentalleader #LEADERSHIP #CIO