A State Farm television commercial portrays a savvy Mike using his phone app to record some damage to his car when he encounters his friend who informs him she’s waiting on her date, a French model she met on the internet. She adds, “They can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true.” Humorous as the advertisement is, it also mirrors how often we read something on the internet and buy it as truth without questioning the source.
Here’s a problem: Without facts, without accurate information you’ll make an RBD (Really Bad Decision) every time.
How often have you reposted an article on Linkedin or Facebook only to realize it’s old news originally floated around 2010? Do you get excited about an intriguing article only to discover that the author has no authority or research to back up his or her beliefs? We live in an age of opinion masquerading as fact, and it hinders our ability to make good decisions.
What’s a decision-maker to do?
How do you distinguish between fact and fiction in the information-gathering process? You need a filter, a criterion you can use to measure all the information you’re considering in making your decision.
You need a way to cut out the CRAAP!
The CRAAP Test
Here’s a tool that will help you filter through the BS and get at the truth. It’s called the CRAAP test. This memorable acronym will help you get to the truth in no time. Here’s what each letter stands for:
C = Current: How current is the information: This year? Five years ago? Twenty years ago? If you’re seeking information about Shakespeare this might not be as big an issue as it would if you’re gathering information to make a decision regarding your IT network.
R = Relevant: It might be good information, but how relevant is it to the decision you must make.
A = Accurate: Is the information accurate? You might not agree with the editorial staff of the New York Times; however, the journalists that work there are constrained to abide by a specific code of ethics. Most bloggers –your’s truly included— have the freedom to write about whatever crosses their mind, and they often do.
A = Authority: Does the author have the expertise, background, training, or just on-the-job experience that makes him or her qualified as a reliable source of information
P = Purpose: This is in many ways the most important one of all. What is the purpose of this bit of information? To inform? To teach? Or to persuade, manipulate or sell you on a product, process or person?
Your challenge: Start applying the CRAAP test to everything you read or hear. You may find yourself in an internal argument argument with the person on the radio or in the news.
And you’ll learn to filter out fiction to base your decisions on fact, not hearsay from social media.
Tim Hast is a partner at Encore Life Skills LLC. He and his team help develop leaders you’d want to follow and teams you’d want to join. The Seminar/workshop “Think Like a Leader, Critical Decision Making for Crucial Moments” a five-step process for avoiding RBDs (Really Bad Decisions) is available as a live classroom or online e-learning experience. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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