Lean Operations Make “Evidence-Based” Decisions

I was listening to a discussion about “evidence-based policy.”

The idea is that many strategies and policies are created from theories and feelings. Frequently, those aren’t fortified by fact and experience. They end up being wrong.

According to Richard Thaler, a University of Chicago economist, it takes three things to create evidence-based policy:

  • Modesty. A willingness to believe you don’t know all the answers.
  • Curiosity. A desire to dig for better answers and creative solutions.
  • Willingness to collect data. A commitment to collect data to find out what “is” as compared to what you “think” might be true.

These attitudes are fundamental to “lean” operations.

To seek leaner operations, you must approach things with the idea that you can always be better.

The curiosity is behind asking “why” five times. Things aren’t always as they seem. What appears to be solid may actually be shaky. It takes constant digging to get to the truth.

Data drives it all. We have to be willing to test our theories. Learn from them. Tweak things based on what we learn.

So, if you want to create a leaner operation, ask others how they would do it and what the problems are.

Be willing to try things out.

Let the facts generated direct your future activity.

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