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ATD Blog

"Research" as Pawn to Support the Status Quo


Wed Mar 22 2006


I love research, maybe a bit too much. I love measuring effectiveness. I love making sense of chaos that enables predictability. I love presenting hard evidence.

And yet...


And yet the phrase "we need to do__research" more often than not is a code phrase for, "we just don't want to move ahead" without having to justify the action, or to appear in favor of something while trashing it. When George W. Bush, early in his presidency, said that he wanted to study global warming, he did not mean "I really want to act on this; let's make it a priority to understand the exact nature of the problem so that we can apply comprehensive yet targeted solutions," what he meant was, "I don't want to deal with it."

Our industry seems addicted to this best of all excuses, both because it plays to a supposed strength (we are smart people who like talking about using our brains and employing a rigorous process), and our weakness (we hate pulling the trigger).

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