Short answer: because they don’t know!
How can this be?
It has to do with our faulty mental wiring.
Humans are great at making incorrect snap judgements about causal relationships. We’re even better at this flavor of bad judgement when evaluating ourselves. When a person is swimming in a sea of habit patterns, how can we know which of these patterns is producing a particular result?
This is why epidemiologists look at large populations and large data sets to uncover correlations. Yes, “correlation is not causation” but as the great Edward Tufte said so well, “correlation is not causation, but it sure is a hint.” And correlations across large populations over long periods of time provide better hints. Imperfect hints indeed, but better quality hints than those an individual draws from his personal behavior.
Applying an epidemiological approach to business success was the core idea behind one of the most well-respected business books of all time – Good to Great:
Start with 1,435 good companies. Examine their performance over 40 years. 11 of those companies became great and they shared these 7 things in common.
As book origin stories go, that’s one of the best ever.
Collins and his team drew 7 key conclusions that have become an essential staple to business parlance.
Do a quick check – do you know each of these Good to Great terms?
- Level 5 Leadership
- The Hedgehog Concept
- First Who, Then What
- The Stockdale Paradox
- Culture of Discipline
- The Flywheel
- The Doom Loop
How to Score …
1. How did you do? Do you know each of them? Anything less than 100% is a failing score. They’re that essential.
2. And by “know” I mean – do you know them cold? ”Yeah. Yeah. I’ve heard that term before, I think it means …” is also a failing score.
If you don’t know them – 100% of them – and you don’t know them cold, take 5 minutes to read this now:
Simpleology Summaries: Good to Great <— download now (it’s free)