Facts Vs. Interpretation of Facts. How to boost your organisational culture’s adaptability and innovation

Today we will talk about the first value of the chosen 10, which I think can contribute to building a strong, more adaptable and innovation-boosting company’s culture. I say this, however I should mention a significant exclusion/disclaimer about this statement – please read it in the introduction article about the values.

This article is a part of a series: How to adapt quickly in a rapidly changing environment?

Regardless of whether we are in a startup or a mature company, regardless of whether we talk about a big strategy issue or an operational aspect, we need to make every effort to ensure that we see the business reality as it is. Looking for facts and separating them from interpretations helps to do this.

It is worth asking (ourselves or our peers) constantly: What is the fact? How do we know that? How good is our evidence? And then we can ask what is this fact telling us (what is our interpretation of it).


When we focus on facts, it’s much easier to ask ourselves the following questions, while planning actions: how will I know I am successful? What do I need to measure to know that?
If we have good measures in place, it’s much easier to know what do we need to do. It’s much easier to improve things if we measure them. It’s much easier to decide what is “good”/”not good” (which is simply an interpretation) – because with metrics (or countable measures) we know what this truly means to us.

It’s worth asking yourself and team members these questions, as well as encouraging self-reflection of employees, in order to find answers.

Truly embedding this value could fantastically secure an organisation – the conversation is not about what the highest rank likes the most, or what people think about proposed ideas, but about the quality of the evidence laid out on the table. This could help prevent cognitive distortions (presonalising, mind-reading, negative predictions and many others).

If you would like to read a bit more about the importance of looking for facts while working on a strategy, please check out: “Making decisions based on evidence not ideas”.

Here’s a little story from my personal experience, where values helped to overcome a potentially serious conflict – please wach the video.

This is how focusing on facts and separating them from interpretations can help to mitigate conflicts in your team.

For the next 10 weeks, I will publish a weekly article and video about a value from this list. I will share case studies and examples, to illustrate how these values can help you build a better culture for your company.

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In order to confront the rapidly-evolving world around us, we need to have a system in place to adapt with the changes. This article is the third from the series which aims to describe basic approaches, which can help to be more responsive and adaptive. Sign up to the newsletter – so you will never miss an update!