A beautiful dive into an empty pool

By Phil McKinney via philmckinney.com  Article

Innovation Requires Getting The Facts Right

“There is an old saying that goes something like this, ‘Speaking with passion but without the facts is like making a beautiful dive into an empty pool.’

As John Adam’s famously said, ‘Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.’

To convince or persuade others to support your idea, you have to base your idea on incontestable facts that are readily grasped and understood.

When it comes to taking your idea and turning it into disruptive innovation, you need to get people to support and even fund your idea. The willingness of others to support your idea is based on your personal credibility. The easiest way to lose your credibility is to run fast and loose with the facts.

I’ve seen many an innovator thinking they needed to make some bold claims and then proceeded to stretch the truth. Their idea was fundable on its own but they lost their credibility and support — and thus their funding.

If the facts are more of a hypothesis, then you should be upfront and say, ‘In my opinion …’ Ben Franklin was a great one for that. He said that one of the greatest lessons he ever learned in winning others to his ideas was to begin everything he said with the words, ‘I may be wrong about this, but it seems to me …. ‘ And the combination of humbleness of attitude, linked with overwhelming logic, quickly had people assuring him that he was absolutely right.

To take the stand that you’re right before the hypothesis had had the time to be turned into facts will make sure others will oppose you and your idea. It’s also a sign of immaturity. Speaking with passion but without the facts is like making a beautiful dive into an empty pool, and it has brought many otherwise intelligent people into positions of embarrassment, even disaster. We’ve all been guilty of. I know I have — still am, on occasion. And I’m always sorry afterward, especially if I’ve been proven wrong.

‘It seems to me …’ are magic words. They soften and clear the way; they open others’ minds and initial opinions toward us and our ideas. And then, if we are proved wrong, we are not so far out on the limb that we can’t get back with good grace.”


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