June 27, 2006 | Mark Paradies

Evidence in Analyzing A Problem – Global Warming as an Example

A hot political issue in the US is the impact of Global Warming and what we should or should not be doing.

This may also be a hot scientific issue, but it is difficult to tell. Why? Because of all the hype (see the article in the Canadian Free Press for an example of some of the discussion/debate in the scientific community).

My point is not to get a political or scientific debate on global warming started on this blog site. Rather, my point is … How do YOU gather and consider evidence when you are analyzing problems?

Al Gore continues to repeat his beliefs about the immanent and devastating impact of global warming. Does repeating the belief make the statements a fact?

At your company, does the fact that someone keeps repeating their version of what happened over and over again make the statement more true because it has been repeated more often?

How do you verify a statement – be it Al Gore’s or someone at your plant?

What do you consider as evidence?

At your plant site, you would probably get some independent facts and expert opinions to help verify or disprove the story that is being told.

But many don’t have the scientific background to evaluate the statements made by Al Gore or to evaluate the global warming research being published. Thus the statements can’t be independently verified.

Politics is an interesting arena where facts sometimes seem to be irrelevant.

Problem solving is a completely different animal.

Facts – independently verified facts – are the driving force behind finding root causes and really fixing problems. No matter what problem solving technique you use, your process MUST be driven by facts, or it won’t work.

So the next time you are investigating an incident, reading a newspaper, or watching a movie, THINK … how can I verify the statements … what are the FACTS. The simple process of verifying statements with other sources of evidence will make you a much better investigator and problem solver.

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