Focus on the Observable Facts to Support Success in Business and at Work


Whether it’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) when determining what is (and is not) acceptable performance, such as:

  • Cost
  • Gross Revenue
  • Net Profit
  • Billable Hours, etc.; or

Investigating an incident where a company policy has been violated, such as:

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • How;

The focus is always on the observable facts, e.g. observable with the five senses.

If the performance issues are of an ethical nature: this is where a clearly written Code of Conduct based on organizational values can also ensure that the performance assessment is based on observable facts as well.

While it’s tempting to explore why, e.g.: why did the employee violate the policy or the Code of Conduct (if a violation of policy was determined to have factually occurred), focusing on the true facts places all of us (including the employee whose performance is under review) on the side of the angels.

Engaging in guessing or conjecture (e.g., focusing on the “why”) is not only ultimately maddening, it is misplaced in the workplace – I’m an HR practitioner, not a therapist, counselor or psychic. And because I know where that bright line is, I can stay focused on the observable facts at work – and if appropriate, depending on the circumstance, I will refer employees to experts such as counselors or therapists outside of the workplace where they can effectively work to resolve the “why.”

How do you stay focused on the observable facts to support the performance success of everyone in your organization, in business and at work?

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