Schlagwort-Archive: Quality

Inevitably alternative facts

Facts become conveyable through language, signs and numbers. The oldest signs were painted on the walls of Stone Age caves forty thousand years ago. We cannot determine to what extent the meaning of those days has survived in our cultural memory. Due to the lack of reference books, the meaning of ancient signs (e.g. an upside-down triangle s) remains incomprehensible to us, even though graffiti is a tangible fact that everyone can see. Nowadays, the sign has various interpretations depending on the subject area: in alchemy it represents water; in meteorology it represents rain; for hobos it indicates that too many people have already been there and there is nothing left to get; in mathematics it symbolizes the Nabla operator; in street traffic it represents give priority; in the broadest sense it also stands for femininity. What gives us the certainty that nowadays facts have only one meaning – for example, if the temperature increase of the last thirty years is not perceived as threatening? Are words and numbers more meaningful than simple signs – for example, when we meet at the bank? And if there is no universal meaning, what does that make of the conjured facts – alternative facts?

When looking at the production of facts, many influencing factors become apparent which can lead to a distortion of meaning.

  • The perspectives on the facts
    Your own location determines the look at circumstances. You can view the situation at eye level, from a bird’s or frog’s eye view. The angle becomes narrower and loses sight of the whole as soon as you get closer to details. The range of vision expands and lets subtleties disappear when you get an overview. The time perspectives also convey different views. In retrospect, the number of facts and findings are more comprehensive and conclusive as if only currently available sources are used – not to mention when premonitions about the future are formulated.
    These few examples and the different positions of the viewers should make clear to everyone that the accumulated data will always be different. Despite several reliable sources and the examination of the statements in fact-checks, it is never possible to reach a sufficiently reliable conclusion as to whether or not a false report has been made. This means that somebody who doesn’t like the news can simply declare them fake news.
  • The hunter-gatherer of facts
    The collection of facts is influenced by the character of the reporter. Different experiences, abilities and convictions filter their perception. This is mainly due to the fact that observers of a situation can only notice things that they already know or can be put into words and images. This results in an unconscious selection of documents, which in turn creates a tendentious picture. As long as others report in a same way, it seems to be factual, although the amount of similar statements does not allow any conclusions, whether the reports are true.
    The observers’ world view unintentionally acts as a filter for the data accrued. This is how the technician prefers to see plants, machines and other technical matters. The philanthropist observes the people in their environment. And both will provide facts about the situation, which lead to different conclusions.
  • The interest-driven facts
    The impact of hunters and gatherers is intensified, if only those facts are consciously collected, which confirm their own world view. This usually happens with ideologically biased reporters – whether they are left, right or centered. As an extreme example, we look at the conspiracy theorists who provide spectacular news in the otherwise pale information jungle. A well-known example is the allegedly faked moon landing, which was staged only to win the race to the moon or to distract from the Vietnam War.
    These kinds of facts arise in all subject areas: Politics, science, economy etc. Here, overarching interests determine which news get into the media. A crude, albeit effective, attempt to twist facts is the prophylactic contradiction that tries to fend off a foreseeable accusation by accusing in advance opponents of spreading fake news. Whoever screams loudest wins the sympathy of the masses, although they suffer at the end a disadvantage – a good example is the propaganda of the screaming Brexiteers, who only bring disadvantages to Britain’s.
  • The quality of the facts
    In the end, facts are data that have a certain quality. In addition to showing the respective perspective and the origin of the observers, there are quality criteria that should be fulfilled: comprehensibility, correctness, completeness, coherence, topicality, etc. There is often room for interpretation: for example, the degree of freedom of elections or the assessment of assassinations by state bodies. The correctness of a statement should be critically questioned (especially, if serious contradictions arise). The completeness of a message is difficult to detect (for example, if different views are not reported). Inconsistencies are easier to spot because the audience can find them (if one thing is reported on one day and something contrary on the other). It is also increasingly easier to check the up-to-dateness (for example, if old images are used in a new context or obviously are manipulated).
    It has become common practice to pretend that the news quality can be checked by carrying out factual checks later. However, since they are based on the criteria used so far, they only provide confirmation of an interest-driven view.

Bottom line: Actually, we seem to have no more opportunities to get closer to reality. As a result, we move within our own filter bubble, which repeatedly confirms our own convictions. However, this article is intended to show that alternative facts are the very nature of things. The struggle for the one truth is pointless, since there is no such state. For this reason, we must be more sensitive to this objectivity and consciously deal with the available news. As soon as a report is filled with emotional statements (e.g. stigma words) and a corresponding intonation, all warning lights should go on (see e.g. this German television report). If this stops the faithful onward surge of lemmings, which blindly trust the demagogues and they no longer thoughtlessly follow the populists, then it would have been worthwhile to look at the inevitably alternative facts.

Bureaucracy prevents

The reign of the administration is actually an outdated way of steering a company – with objective, formal, regulated, verifiable and distributed tasks, authorities and responsibilities (TAR). With enough time to design, allocate and implement routines, i.e. to train, companies behave like machines. Over time, weaknesses are eliminated as well as the process and quality of the entrepreneurial officialdom improved, in order to increasingly deliver the desired results with greater reliability. With the digital transformation and the accompanying acceleration, even the last bureaucratic apparatuses will notice that they are losing all economic competition, because bureaucracy prevents the work styles that will determine henceforth success.

For this purpose we look at the ’new‘ requirements.

  • Digitalization
    The coherent adaptation of all parts of the business to virtuality is the core of digitization. The processes of the future will take place in IT. The data is processed independently by powerful software (sometimes called Artificial Intelligence). Machines produce not only products, but also services. Even personal tasks can be automated (e.g. automated complaint management).
    The acceleration generated by the computers will be possible when the bureaucratic checkpoints and decision points take place quickly and, without staggered chains of command, immediately at the point of action.
  • Customer orientation
    Today’s customer is often better informed than a company’s contact person. They are thus better prepared and have more and more specific wishes, which have not been taken into account within the framework of ‚bureaucratic‘ product development. If the top management is serious about their customer orientation, then the customer, who expresses a wish, dominates anything else. If the interface to the customer has already been digitized, then the programs must be able to satisfy the customer in spite of his special requirements.
    Even before the digital transformation, companies understood how to focus on the customer and his wishes – every employee with customer contact in the Ritz-Carlton can spend up to $2,000 without consulting a superior to satisfy customer wishes.
  • Innovation of products and services
    Many innovations were found by chance – e.g. Penicillin, Post-Its or Teflon. It is not the prepared process that creates the idea, but an impulse that unexpectedly triggers the Eureka in someone out of nowhere. Consider the everyday annoyance of having your notes fall out of your hymnbook, as well as a colleague, who develops an adhesive that simply doesn’t stick permanently – and we have adhesive notes of any size and form.
    This thought flash cannot be ordered or expected according to a schedule. If additionally the idea has to be described, submitted and adopted according to a certain rule, any fantasy suffocates.
  • Self-organization
    The replacement of the chain of command is self-organization. Every employee should act intrinsically motivated as an entrepreneur in the company and generate more value than before. Employees have to decide their own limits although it is expected that these boundaries will be interpreted more generously than they could ever be given by a superior. Not to forget saved managers, who are no longer needed when everyone is leading themselves.
    People forget that new remuneration, reporting and management systems are required, in order to go beyond bureaucracy and enable employees to control themselves by providing non-bureaucratic support such as adaptable IT, rapidly provided resources and an open corporate culture.
  • Globalization
    The world is the playing field in which business nowadays has to assert itself. This requires a mindset that adapts to the respective region or country. A group of bureaucrats of any kind will not be able to develop a bureaucracy that fits everywhere.
    Different languages, rituals and behaviors cannot be summarized in a consistent system, because a meaningful translation into all languages is not possible; the rituals follow local society and religions; the appropriate behavior is often contradictory.
  • Quality
    As soon as a bureaucracy takes over the leadership, the employees no longer feel responsible for giving their best, but only for fulfilling the requirements. Thinking would always question the rules. This means that employees cannot accelerate a process, although it would be possible. It does not work, because the predefined process requires certain detours. A customer request cannot be implemented, because the specifications clearly regulate what the customers have to buy. Defects in the product arise, when the task execution becomes more important than the corresponding quality.
    The specifications determine exactly what has to be done, which quality grades have to be fulfilled and how long one should deal with something. If the required working time is then met, one has fulfilled its duty – although there are still ideas for more.

Bottom line: A clear indicator of the ability to use new forms of work and structures is the status of the own bureaucracy. As long as a result is checked based on formalities and formats and new ideas are ignored, you will have difficulties in the foreseeable future – you will not be able to keep up with the speed of digitalization; real customer orientation will remain a dream; innovations will only be possible with a lot of effort and external support; self-organized teams will dissolve quickly; one will no longer be able to keep up with global competition; quality will become worse and worse unnoticed. Of course only, if you don’t manage to let go your bureaucracy and its representatives. Because: bureaucracy prevents.