‘Quick fix’ research – racing towards business disaster?

research methodsA while ago I was in a meeting with a training manager who proudly informed me that prior to me visiting she had done a TNA. We talked about their training needs for an hour or so and then as I was escorted to the elevator I mentioned something about being interested to see finished training needs analysis.

‘What’s that?’ my host enquired. ‘Your TNA’ I said with a degree of surprise. ‘Oh’ she said. ‘Is that what it stands for?’

It really is a shallow world we live in. When I first entered the workforce in what feels like the 17th century now, if there was an employment law query I didn’t know the answer to I would find a quiet place away from interruption and then spend some time digging into the employment law tomes from the bookshelf. If I still hadn’t found the answer or got the understanding I needed, I would revert to the statutory instruments that created the legislation to see if they gave any answers or guidance. I would then reflect on all the information I had read and come up with the necessary answer for my clients.

Nowadays it is not unusual for people to do one or more of the following:

  • Hit Wikipedia
  • Search on Yahoo or Google for an answer
  • Phone a friend or colleague
  • Post their question on Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook or LinkedIn
  • Make up the answer based on existing limited knowledge

Inevitably, the result is going to be a knowledge bank made up of rubbish, half truths with a bit of actual fact thrown in for good luck. What the balance of rubbish, fact and everything in between will be largely depends on a number of things:

  • How aware they are that many people spout information irrespective of whether they actually know the actual answer or not and Wikipedia can be a great example of this
  • That friends often prefer to give you any answer rather than no answer at all in their desire to help you out
  • Being sufficiently intelligent to know that just because it is written does not mean it is true
  • How often they rely on just one source of information for their answer and what their preferred source actually is
  • Their ability to apply common sense and reason to what they are told and what they read
  • Their ability to scroll down beyond just the first answers that come up in an internet search
  • Their acceptance that digging for facts and doing genuine research seldom takes only 30 seconds
  • Their genuine interest in finding the right answer rather than just any answer

It’s a lazy world we live in and with the internet giants focussed on giving us ‘one click’ solutions and the marketing agencies advocating the use of visuals over the written word to share information, we are encouraged to become ever more lazy. But what are the repercussions if your HR staff or your line managers get too lazy in finding answers?

Thoughts, ideas, comments? All welcomed, as always.

Helen is Managing Director of Jaluch Limited, an HR and Training company that supports hundreds of organisations around the UK and further afield. Proud to run a business that delivers great customer service and brilliant solutions and proud that our very loyal Jaluch clients know that they can rely on our team of HR Advisors to support with even the trickiest and most difficult employment issues. If you have any HR or training related issues then get in touch!

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2 replies added

  1. Diane 6 March, 2014 Reply

    I agree! And as a professional I spend a lot of time counteracting the half truths learned by my lay colleagues. If its a tricky question there is no easy answer.

  2. Ian Hay 7 March, 2014 Reply

    Perhaps not lazy, but not understanding Cause and Effect or as I like to term it Consequences of the action being take. There seems to be a total lack of understanding in today’s world of this concept.

    Do people actually have the ability to assess what they are doing (getting info from a not totally proven source like Wikipedia) and what the potential effect of using it is? Perhaps the easy access to the internet has closed down the ability to think something through! The media reported it so it must be right!!! It’s on the internet, it can’t be wrong!!!

    Perhaps it’s the education systems that should be questioned as to what “logic” if any is being taught – I suspect everything is more by “rote learning” and box ticking than using common sense and brain power.

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