We all go about things in our own way, right? We’re all individuals expressing ourselves uniquely, and the way we act or react depends greatly on our individual personalities and internal processes and methods.

Most of the time, let’s say even the vast majority of the time, like 99% of the time, our own way works just fine for us. We get through life—how we interact with others, how we make decisions, how we respond to our social environments—just famously.

However, something important must be acknowledged: If I work in my own way, that means everybody else works in their own way as well! And I simply can’t get through life without other people. Check out a previous blog, Other People, for an in-depth discussion of this blatantly obvious fact.

 I’ve discussed interacting with others for benefit in previous blogs. Now I am turning to Deciding and Achieving. What THEE illustrates is that, in general, there are seven basic methods for deciding and achieving. Let’s take a look at the empiricist, from the inside and out.

Inside the Head of an Empiricist

There is truth and there is fiction. 

Information is the greatest tool available to mankind. It was information, the knowledge of cause and effect and the knowledge of how things work that brought the human species out of the realm of mindless animal to the elevated state he now finds himself in. 

The universe is a puzzle and information the pieces. When the pieces fall into place, all becomes clear. Decisions make themselves and a course of action can be easily plotted to achieve any goal and find success in any endeavor. 

The world is full of people making decisions on hunches and instinct. Ha! That’s a recipe for disaster if there ever was one. Without the proper information, you’re rolling the dice and you’re probably just wrong. 

Success is 99% research and 1% action, and action is the easiest part when the decision is properly researched and the decider is properly informed. 

There is no room for disagreements, emotion, corruption, or self-interest when the facts are in. Why bother with anything else? 

Who is this? 

If you identify with this, you’re probably an empiricist when it comes to deciding and achieving.

You’re great at problem solving and getting down to brass tacks. You work well in highly structured environments and delight in finding the perfect solution to an objective, real-world problem. You are precise and detailed. You might view your pragmatic managers like Sir Francis Bacon, the father or the scientific method, who said:

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” Information surely is needed and blindly rushing into any decision or situation without it is unwise. We can only effectively handle what we know, the rest is just instinct. But your way really isn’t the only way. In fact, it’s one of 7 Decision Approaches.

Outside of the Empiricist 

If you aren’t a problem-focused empiricist type of decision-maker, well you handle decisions in some other way that you are convinced is generally best. And how you view this preoccupation with problems, facts and best solutions will be dependent on that.

For example:

  • A pragmatist might say that, while an empiricist Is holed-up in his laboratory researching, the world passes him by and nothing of value actually happens and no action is taken. 
  • A systemicist might say that the empiricist ignores important factors outside of “the facts” like changing social conditions, prevailing viewpoints, and an organization’s evolution. 
  • A dialectic decision maker might say that facts and figures are irrelevant in the face of the strongly-held viewpoints of individuals and groups. 
It’s important to realize that we all would do well to use empirical decision-making methods from time to time. Sometimes, doing a little research and getting the facts straight will go a long way in making a good, informed decision.

That’s why, if this isn’t you, it’s still good to understand the empiricist. Besides, you’ll occasionally run into an empiricist in your personal or professional life and getting their way of doing things will be helpful.

Check in next week for Rational decision making.

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