Hats, kilts and exit polls.

Tony Latter | 5th June 2015

Whichever party got your vote on the 7th May, whether it was blue, red, orange, green, yellow or purple, if this process has taught us anything, it’s that emotionally invested opinions versus factual outcomes can sometimes and spectacularly be so very different. It can make even the staunchest of individuals who are so sure of their own assessment and point of view that they are willing to eat their own respective hats and kilts if they are proved to be wrong.

The quotes that spawned a thousand memes (some better than others) courtesy of Paddy Ashdown and Alastair Campbell who were convinced that the exit polls were stunningly wide of the mark, suggesting a near SNP whitewash of Labours now former strong hold, a dramatic Lib Dem collapse and a dominant Tory win, that they would indeed happily eat items of clothing live on TV, if their gut was mistaken.

We now know of course, that the exit polls, if anything were too conservative. Several months leading up to and right on the eve of the election, the opinion polls were telling us that it was neck and neck between the Conservative and Labour parties. The opinion polls, as the name suggests, are just that however, an opinion, an assumption, a speculation. The exit polls are based on fact, based on who you voted for, not how you will vote.

Like opinion and exit polls, when it comes to decisions in business, they are either based on opinion or fact. 62% of management decisions are gut based, some of these work some don’t. However we are in the middle of a significant change in leaders mentality who are shifting their decision making stance from an ‘I think’ to an ‘I know’ philosophy.

This by no way means executives are saying goodbye to their educated intuition and tried and tested hunches. They are just being smarter and as a way of complementing what they feel, use real time quantitative and qualitative feedback, from within their business, whether it’s from staff, clients, suppliers, customers, so they can make better informed choices, minimising the risk for all concerned.

No one likes eating humble pie, or head accessories and Scottish garments for that matter. The more often that executives and leaders merge intuition with factual intelligence, the more successful choices they will make, meaning an improved bottom line and a more content stakeholder.

If you would like to know how The Happiness Index helps companies improve business performance and relationships, please drop me a line for an informal chat.

Patrick Phelan, Managing Partner at The Happiness Index