Showing posts from July, 2007

And the Winner Is … Business by Data

Not even close, at least in the business sector.

In the last posting, I suggested that court managers listen actively and patiently to what people have to say no matter what truth-finding ways and means they’ve used including: (1) the truth we feel (including “truthiness”); (2) the truth that is given to us; (3) the truth we ferret out ourselves by reason and logic; (4) and the truth we perceive through our senses and empirical data, including performance information.

No one method is foolproof, I argued. Each can complement and correct the mistakes of the others. Better to use all four methods, though we may favor one. The common ground is where the truth is more likely to reside.

I advised – sensibly I think -- that we not we not discredit those who prefer to reach the truth in ways different from ours. Apparently, business does not see it that way.

“We’ve had management by objective and total quality management. Now it’s time for the latest trend in business methodology: management by …

Truth and “Truthiness”

“The truth-quest is always the same: the unwavering search for signs to match reality.” -- Felipe Fernandez-Armesto

Stephen Colbert, the satirist and host of The Colbert Report, coined the term “truthiness” to refer to the things people know to be true “from the gut,” as opposed to from the head and from dry data that comes from the laborious (and boring) process of science. Many court managers, judges and clerks rely on truthiness to answer the question “How is the court performing?” Quite predictably, some of us who are “made to measure” and feel smug about using the scientific method to get at the truth disparage them. That disparagement may be misguided, if not arrogant or dead wrong.

Getting at the Truth

But how do we know what is true? How do we know the Way Things Really Are? How can we tell falsehood from truth?

In his deft little book, Truth: A History and a Guide for the Perplexed (St. Martin's Press, 2000), Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, a member of the modern history faculty at…