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How Human Recall Screws Up Management and What To Do About It

When the experts dig down into it, human recall doesn’t work. What you remember isn’t what happened; it’s a mosaic of truth, impressions, past experience, guesswork, etc. If you have any doubt, watch the riddle of experience vs. memory and why eyewitnesses get it wrong on TED.

bigstock stones path management

This cuts hard into the fundamentals of management. What do you do with following up on what was said, and what was done, when every individual story is different? And no one story is more valid than the other? We agreed what? When?

Traditional management makes this simple: the boss’ version is correct. Just like they say that history is written by the winners.

The right way, however, is also simple, but only if you have the patience and discipline to record the steps:

  1. Always look for objective measurable goals and progress reporting. Sales and costs and expenses are obvious, but also tweets, follows, likes, leads, calls, presentations, minutes, trips, or whatever. Agree on the future goals and acceptable progress. Make something both boss and worker can track, via objective tools. Make the numbers visible.
  2. Track, measure, and follow up. Watch the progress. Review performance.

Everybody wants a score. Everybody wants to be in charge of their own numbers. Make it real.


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