Dear Aunty B,
I’m a CEO and I like to focus on the big picture.
I talk about vision, and strategy and the big trends that are shaping my sector. I love soaking up all sorts of facts and using them when I talk to our staff and to clients.
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But recently my team have started pulling me up on some of the facts I use and asking for evidence. For example, if I say something like “40% of the market believes this” the buggers will turn around and ask me for a source for my claim.
Usually I ask them whether I look like an encyclopaedia and tell them to do a bit of research. But the other day one of my managers pulled me aside and said my use of unsourced facts was damaging my credibility.
I was offended, of course – but now I am wondering whether they are right.
Oh no! You’ve raised one of the (many) criticisms that have been levelled against your own Aunty B. Like you, I’ve often been pulled up on a fact that I’ve sprouted. And like you, I can never remember exactly where the stats came from.
And like you, I reckon it was damaging my credibility.
So here’s what I did. First, I wrote down the key trends or facts that I always talk about in speeches. I gave these to a junior to go away and source.
In a couple of days, I had what I call Aunty’s Factsheet – the key trends or facts I quote, with sources (and links to those sources) printed underneath.
I carry a copy around with me and I also email it to people who question a fact.
And now, when I do find a new fact or trend, I cut it out of the paper or send a link to my junior so my factsheet can be updated.
It’s nice and simple and there is nothing more satisfying than putting some upstart in their place by saying “of course I can source that fact, you twerp”.
Your Aunty B
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