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Updated: Apr 30, 2022

In one role, I attended Monday morning staff meetings with Sr Staff. The first topic of conversation during every meeting was a review of sales from the previous week. Our metric was to compare it to the same week the previous year. We always heard “up 3% from last year” or “down 2% from last year”. 

When we got the result, what happened next always fascinated me. When we were up, there were smiles, jokes, and praise all around. When we were down, the discussion was why. More accurately, the discussion was a list of reasons why it wasn’t our fault. For example “last year we were doing a heavy ad campaign that drove traffic, this year we didn’t - so the downturn makes sense.”

What I eventually realized was that we never did the same thing when sales were up. Maybe we were up because this year we did an ad campaign and last year we didn’t? 

This is a common problem in companies - resulting. We look at the result only and decide whether things are good or bad. That is a huge mistake.

Results matter. No doubt. The mistake we make is the direct correlation between our decisions and the result. It isn’t nearly as clear cut as we like to believe.

Here is the fact: In any one case, you can make a good decision and get a bad result. You can make a bad decision and get a good result.

The difference is that if you make good decisions, you will get good results more often than if you make bad decisions.

Don’t look at the result. Look at the process. Look at larger data samples. If you don’t, you will end up making more poor decisions.

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