When you have to take an action, get the facts.

You come into your job each day with many opinions which were shaped after many years of pounding and clawing your through research, study, role modeling, and experiencing. That causes you to form some mighty strong OPINIONS. Once formed, opinions are next-to-impossible to change.

Those opinions, though can become the very element of your own career destruction.

My favorite business management textbook is, ICARUS PARADOX. In a nutshell, it provided evidence that companies, and their employees, by doing more of the same thing that created their successes, fail to adjust and adapt to the changes required to survive under changed circumstances. The wax on the “wings”, (doing what worked in the past), “melts” when the corporation’s or employee’s methods fails to withstand the rigors presented by new circumstances/environments.

The solution is to investigate and gather the facts, almost each time you are faced with a situation. Put aside assumptions. Dig.

Talk to those affected and to those doing the work. Learn what the bottlenecks are and uncover any new factors that should have a bearing on your standard way of doing things. If you act without first gathering the facts you are acting on opinion, assumption, perceptions, or emotions; any of which are subject to “melting” when approaching the “sun”.

Gathering facts is, by the way, one of the most potent tools for minimizing workplace frustration and confrontations. Forcing employees to do it your way, without first gathering any facts they may have, creates workplace friction. So, gather the facts. Ask and value the opinion of others around you. If you are a manager or team leader, this is especially important.

One final note. The workplace is NOT a democracy. Managers should decide the workplace standards, goals/objectives, priorities, resources, and work routines and should make decisions, regardless if the majority “votes” for it or not.