I Really Don’t Know

But I’m making decisions every day

I was talking to a potential client the other day about implementing a Quadrant Five assessment at his company. (Don’t worry. This isn’t a sales pitch, so feel free to continue reading.)

His business is a perfect candidate for our assessment methodology. The company has grown over the years and generates annual profits, but the source of success isn’t quite obvious. The product mix, market channels and customer demographics represent enough variations to mask the underlying patterns.

After many years in business, the prospect admitted that he really didn’t know what customers thought, why they bought, why they left or whether there were any patterns that drove retention—or defection—across the customer base. Then, he said something very telling.

“I know we don’t have to change anything fundamental here. It’s not like there’s much we really need to fix,” he said.

It’s a common comment, but absolutely counterproductive. If he doesn’t know what the real problems are, of course, he cannot possible know what they aren’t. He might hope he doesn’t need to make fundamental changes and he might believe the company doesn’t need much improvement, but the simple fact is that he doesn’t know.

We all fall into this trap from time to time, when our confidence or our fears override our pragmatism and we draw conclusions without any data. It would be funny, if it wasn’t so expensive.

Ultimately, we suffer less from the things we don’t know than from the things we know to be true, but aren’t.

Of course, that’s just my opinion. What do you think?


Written by Michael Rosenbaum on May 17th, 2012. Posted in Uncategorized

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