Quotes in critical thinking
There are three ways to get better figures... Improve the system... Distort the system... Distort the figures
The researcher hoping to break new ground in the theory of experimental design should involve himself in the design of actual experiments. The investigator who hopes to revolutionize decision theory should observe and take part in the making of important decisions.
For the theory-practice iteration to work, the scientist must be, as it were, mentally ambidextrous; fascinated equally on the one hand by possible meanings, theories, and tentative models to be induced from data and the practical reality of the real world, and on the other with the factual implications deducible from tentative theories, models and hypotheses.
Remember that all models are wrong; the practical question is how wrong do they have to be to not be useful.
I do not deny that most managers lack a good deal of information that they should have, but I do deny that this is the most important informational deficiency from which they suffer. It seems to me that they suffer more from an overabundance of irrelevant information.
A good deal of the corporate planning I have observed is like a ritual rain dance; it has no effect on the weather that follows, but those who engage in it think it does. Moreover, it seems to me that much of the advice and instruction related to corporate planning is directed at improving the dancing, not the weather.
One gets a good rating for fighting a fire. The result is visible; can be quantified. If you do it right the first time, you are invisible. You satisfied the requirements. That is your job. Mess it up, and correct it later, you become a hero.
I achieved my goal by not my aim. That happens a lot, we honestly translate aims to goals. And then we do stupid things in the name of the goal that gets it the way of the aim. We forget the aim sometimes and put the goal in its place.
A numerical goal leads to distortion and faking, especially when the system is not capable of meeting the goal. Anybody will meet the quota (goal) allotted to him. He is not responsible for the losses so generated.
When we have a fact-based worldview, we can see that the world is not as bad as it seems - and we can see what we have to do to keep making it better.