Planning is not an intellectual forum for speculating on the determinable. The Teeth icon is a reminder of the story about two Roman citizens debating the issue of how many teeth were in a horse’s mouth. A slave overheard the debate and suggested they count the teeth. They killed the poor knave on the spot for upsetting their enjoyable debate.
The excellent manager should insist that the teeth be counted not debated. Who is buying our competitor's products and why are they buying theirs, is a question that can be answered by counting the teeth—don’t speculate! Counting the teeth often means asking for answers. When you want to know “how to do it better” or “what customers really want,” counting the teeth means asking. However, you only get answers when you listen. Too often organizations ask in an effort to validate their own view.
Do you really think those political surveys we receive in the mail are designed to get our input? Excellence in management means asking—and listening to—customers, employees, vendors, etc.
Novels by Tom Collins include Mark Rollins’ New Career, Mark Rollins and the Rainmaker, and Mark Rollins and the Puppeteer and the newest, The Claret Murders. For signed copies go to http://store.markrollinsadventures.com. Print and ebook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online bookstores. The ebook edition for the iPad is available through Apple iTunes' iBookstore.