Excuse my slightly rude title. Maybe you should substitute the words “screen” for “backfill” and “view” for “fiction.” It’s what I really mean, but the alliteration with fiction sounds better and when you backfill facts to fit your view aren’t you creating fiction anyway?

A common problem among business leaders, all leaders I suppose, is the selective use of facts to support an existing opinion. It happens for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is information overload. We are just inundated with too much information and we have to sort through it somehow to make sense of it. But I’m not referring to information overload.

I’m talking about how all of us from time to time, use our personal opinions to keep us from seeing crucial facts that would otherwise enlighten us or guide us to better decisions. Political opinions, religious beliefs, cultural viewpoints, personal historys, misunderstood core values.

What has inspired this rambling this evening is the current debate on bailing out GM, Ford, and Chrysler. My instincts or gut instantly tells me they don’t deserve to be bailed out. No one is going to bail out the small business owner when they make mistakes. And we certainly know the Big Three has made more than enough mistakes over the years that has contributed to their current state of affairs. It’s just not fair or right, is it?

After considering additional information, I find that the facts challenge my instinctual beliefs and force me to seek a deeper, more thorough understanding of the situation and I conclude that the pain of not bailing them out is much larger than I ever imagined. I’m no longer certain that a bailout is not appropriate.

Enough about the Big Three. What are you doing to make sure you face all the relevant facts needed to make the right decisions for the future of your organization? Do you challenge your assumptions? Or do you let your ideologies, fears, biases, and comfort zones screen out the facts, backfilling your data to fit your beliefs, creating a fiction of sorts that hinders your ability to grow?