What is the difference between guessing an outcome and predicting it? Bob and I had this as a “debate” as we travelled the other week …..
The conversation meandered for a while before drawing the conclusion that I “predicted” things by gathering data and then calculating the odds of something being correct based on other environmental factors. While Bob used guessing to short cut the process, he claimed it was a speed thing – I suggested it was a “male” thing!
In a business context the difference, using our definitions is vital. Do you take one isolated piece of the puzzle, ignore the picture on the box and jump right in? Or do you look at the big picture, make some assumptions about the fit and purpose of the data you have in hand and only then draw conclusions and take action.
I have spoken and written before about the dangers of over analysing a situation as actually an excuse to not take action because of unresolved fears, but there is equal if not greater danger in not looking at the data sufficiently.
It’s like everything in life there is a time to analyse and a time to take action, a time to predict and a time to guess.
The most critical skill of all is to know which strategy to use at what time. Do you know when you are using which strategy – are you guessing what your customers want or have you predicted their needs?
Are you guessing which investment will give you the best return or have you predicted the return on investment? Are your guessing we are out of a recession or have you looked at the facts and planned your business accordingly?