in Organizations

Pfeffer and Sutton on Prototyping Organizations

In Why Managing by Facts Works, Pfeffer and Sutton urge us to manage-by-evidence rather than gut instinct. This is less an argument against Blink-style decisions than it is an argument for prototyping…

…treat the organization as an unfinished prototype. Executives who use evidence-based management best encourage their employees to learn even as they act on what they already know. They regard their companies as a work in progress — one that constantly needs to be tested, probed, and experimented with, to be certain that it is evolving in the right direction. They never view their companies as “not broke, so why fix it?” They are confident enough to act on what is already known (even when knowledge is vague and incomplete), and humble enough to change course, if need be, when new information comes along. 

They interpret Web 2.0 companies as the evolved form of evidence-based investing: “By and large, venture capitalists only fund Web-based companies that already have proven the ability to attract customer traffic.”

Incidentally, Bob Sutton’s blog is full of more not-so-common sense.