YEARS ago some clever lady told me…
Avoid What If’s, these are called WIFFYs. Never allow them. If you see somebody asking “But…what if?” stop them there and then and ask “has it? do we have data that it is? what do we KNOW about it?”
This is not some kind of motivational “hey! don’t concern yourselves with What Ifs, just go for it, it’s your negativity and worry!”
This is isn’t about THOSE What Ifs.
The What Ifs i mean, the WIFFYs, are when somebody asks something hypothetical…
“yeah, I see what you’re saying about numerical targets causing people to act odd, but WHAT IF we took the targets away and the lazier and less motivated staff don’t do the work, we’ve got nothing to make ’em do it then, its the customers who need that work done, and quick too.”
Yes, WHAT IF. Are they though? Has that happened? Where can we go to see these demotivated staff? When?
“but WHAT IF we speak to customers to find out more about what matters to them, and the problem they need solving, WHAT IF they want the moon on a stick? An executive gold plated service? What then eh?”
So, have you? And do they? What data do you have on what matters to customers?
“WHAT IF we get rid of service plans, and nobody knows what they should be doing?”
What data do you have on what they know they should be doing now? How did they get that? What data do you have on staff using service plans to find out what they’re supposed to do?
That’s the first part of a WIFFY, bring up what we know, and don’t know. The second part is to say….
“Whatever we find out is actually happening, and have data on, we will deal with, when we find it and when we have data on it.”
IE, we deal with we know, we find out about what we don’t know.
Why are WIFFYs so dangerous? Because in normal ordinary command and control organisations the imaginary realm of the mind is what people deal in. Things that aren’t real are the currency of corporate thinkings. Once created, ie said out loud, it’s real.
Plans aren’t real, but they’re what people talk about, approve, monitor, cascade. There’s a big difference between a good days backed theory to be experimented with, and a series of quarterly guesses.
Risk management, that’s not real. WIFFYs by another name, they are the worst imaginings of what could go wrong, ignoring what is already predictabley going wrong.
Data-free imaginings are the how command and control organisations run. A WIFFY is the unit of currency in the market of guessology.